Cobb to spend nearly $10M on Cumberland sewer line rehab

Jan. 12—Cobb County will spend almost $10 million to rehabilitate a quarter-mile stretch of sewer line near the Cobb Galleria.

Work on the roughly 50-year-old line is expected to be "extremely challenging," per a memo from Water System Director Judy Jones, given the project's close proximity to key infrastructure in Cumberland including detention ponds, a 48-inch water main and I-285.

The portion of the line in question runs northeast from Cobb Parkway along Galleria Drive, ending near the Renaissance Waverly Hotel.

The project will replace the original iron pipe with a PVC pipe of larger capacity. A contract with Reynolds Construction of Georgia was approved by the Board of Commissioners 3-0 Tuesday.

(Republican Commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Keli Gambrill were dismissed from the dais by Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, amid a dispute over Cobb County's ongoing redistricting controversy in which the two Republicans attempted to abstain from casting votes.)

At a work session Monday, Gambrill questioned why the line wasn't upgraded when the Braves ballpark was constructed in the mid-2010s. Jones said the line doesn't only serve the stadium (it also "takes flow" from Cumberland Mall and the Galleria, for example), and it's taken the county years to get the project ready for prime time.

"It's a very complicated project. It's something that we've known needed to be upgraded for years, and it's taken some time to get it designed, but we have been working on this for several years," Jones said.

Gambrill then shifted to questioning why the Braves and other major property owners in the area, like the Galleria, weren't chipping in on such a significant cost.

"Where's their contributing portion?" she asked.

Jones said the county's approach has been to assess development fees when new projects are built, which are then used to fund infrastructure improvements down the road. Per a fee schedule on the county's website, those fees start at $5,220 for the smallest projects and ramp up based on water capacity, with additional charges for sewer extensions and the like.

"There are some instances when a development comes in and it's being rezoned to a higher densities than what's in our future land use model. When that rezoning comes in, if that changes the capacity we need for the sewer, that's when we ask the developer to contribute towards some of the upgrade costs for the sewer line," she added.

In other business, the board approved an $12 million expenditure to purchase 11 new vehicles for Cobb's fire department. Paid for out of the fire fund, the vehicles include eight new fire engines, one HAZMAT truck, and two ladder apparatuses.