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Boomtown Houston County: Warner Robins to spend $18.6 million in water upgrades for growing population

As industrial, commercial and residential growth continues, pipes need to be replaced and a new water tower needs to be built to keep the water flowing

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — As part of our new Boomtown series, we're taking a look at growth in Houston County and its impact.

Last week, to cope with the growth, the Warner Robins council approved spending $18.6 million on water projects.

They will use the money from bonds to upgrade pipes and sewer lines near the Kroger on Highway 96 and Bonaire and a new water tower off Russell Parkway.

"Without sewer and water, you don't have growth," said Warner Robins Utilities Director Montie Walters.

He said some of the lines are at capacity and can't hold anymore water. They are sizing the new pipes for what they will need 20 years from now.

Walters said right now, parts of the city west of Highway 41 buy their water from Houston County, but the new water tower will change that.

The new water tower will provide service from Gunn Road to Russell Parkway and from I-75 to Highway 41.

Credit: Montie Walters

"It's taken us a year and a half to evaluate where we're at. The importance of doing it now is the phenomenal growth."

Mayor Randy Toms said they need to accommodate industrial, commercial, and residential development.

"Warner Robins. Houston County. I mean, this thing is growing like crazy right now and we're really excited about the growth, but we have to do a little bit of catching up to provide the infrastructure," said Toms.

He said people ask all the time why Warner Robins doesn't have much industry and he said it's because they haven't made the investments over time to make that happen.

Walters said with the new Bonaire Elementary School, Buc-ee's, new subdivisions and possible industries coming to town, replacing those pipes and adding a water tower will keep the water flowing.

Credit: Montie Walters

He said in 2012 the city did a $30 million upgrade to the water plant-- what he calls the heartbeat of the city, but a few years down the road, it could be time for another upgrade. He said right now, the plant can hold 12 million gallons a day, but they are already averaging around 7 million per day.

"We're pretty much right on track with where we need to be for the next 20 years of growth."

Walters said once the bids are in in the next couple of months, the projects should be finished in about a year to a year and a half. 

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