City of Marietta
The City of Marietta* is setting aside $2 million of its $11.8 million grant from the American Rescue Plan for the replacement of the Sugar Hill Water Tank that has been in operation for 60 years. The project by Marietta Water will result in a more structurally sound tank that adds a storage capacity 50% over current levels. The replacement is estimated to cost $6 million in total, with the City’s Utility Capital account covering the remaining $4 million.
This tank is responsible for supplying water to a broad service area. It provides for general domestic uses in homes and businesses but, as one of the largest in the Marietta Water system, also has a huge customer in the Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. The hospital serves Cobb as well as Bartow, Cherokee and Paulding counties and runs the largest and busiest emergency department in the state.
Anticipating future demand
The existing Sugar Hill Water Tank has become obsolete and fallen short of meeting the demands and growth of its service area. A condition assessment in 2014 found the tank in need for major rehabilitation. A second assessment only four years later revealed further deterioration, calling for not just rehabilitation but replacement with a new, larger tank.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the City saw reductions in its utility revenues. This, coupled with other economic challenges, has put a strain on its funding for capital projects.
In GMA’s 2022 Capital Needs Survey, Marietta anticipated a financial need of roughly $146 million between 2022 and 2026 for various capital projects. Out of nine key infrastructure categories, water and sewer accounted for 40% of the City’s needs.
The infusion of ARPA funding is helping the City of Marietta address a critical need in its water system. Replacing the water tank with one that is well-functioning and higher-capacity will not only maintain reliable service to thousands of existing residential and commercial customers; it will position the city to adapt to a growing population, commercial development and economic growth – plus, the influx of people to the city daily for work or leisure. According to Census Bureau’s OnTheMap, 68,546 people are employed in the city but are not residents there.
As further motivation for the water tank project, Kennestone Hospital is set to expand through the construction of an 8-story, $263 million bed tower with 61 new beds, which will start this fall. The Sugar Hill Water Tank is also needed to support fire protection by providing necessary pressure to hydrants.
*The City of Marietta is located northwest of Atlanta and is the county seat of Cobb County. It has a 2021 population of 61,497 and has grown by 7% over the last decade. The City incorporated in 1834. Click here for a detailed profile of the city.