Water Board continues its regular work in Cornersville

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

While Lewisburg councilmen were reluctantly coming to realize they had no choice but to approve a water rate hike on Friday, the city's Water and Wastewater Board on Thursday dealt with basic requirements.

Nearly 100 tons of dewatered sludge had been hauled from the sewage treatment plant in Cornersville, the system that Lewisburg's utility purchased several years ago, according to Department Superintendent Kenneth Carr's report to the utility board.

That most basic of solid wastes was hauled to a landfill that accepts such refuse, Carr continued, turning to the city-owned town treatment plant tank that was being sandblasted and painted.

Such maintenance work revealed other concerns.

Barnacles were found to be plugging holes in the tank and their repair would cost approximately $1,500 more than the original estimate for what might otherwise be called routine maintenance, according to Carr's report.

Meanwhile, no violations had been reported last month at the sewage treatment plant in Cornersville, he said.

However, there had been violations at the Lewisburg plant because of rain-swollen sewage collection pipes with breaks allowing water to seep in and increase the volume of wastewater flowing to the three million gallon per day processing plant near the Elks Lodge.

The ironic aspect of the plant's violation -- passing through partially treated wastewater -- is that it's been through a swirl treatment that was approved by environmental regulators in 1986, but that since then federal rules were changed to require chemical treatment of all discharges, instead of physically removing solids with a centrifuge.

During the month of his report, Carr relayed Chief Plant Operator Kenneth Sweeton's report that last month there were 1,181 tests for the plant, meaning an average of 50-60 per day.

Other matters addressed by the utility's board include the following.

Civil Constructors, the contractor reinstalling pipes along State Route 373, Mooresville Highway, which the state is widening and paying for replacement lines, came across two cat-tail ponds. Environmental regulations call for replacement wetlands when construction eliminates the natural water filtering systems.

A permit for such an environmental trade is being sought from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The contract for the extension of water service generally paralleling the Lynnville Road is being, or has been, closed out, although some last steps were being concluded including a chlorine process to prevent the growth of algae in the system.

Some city councilmen have criticized the utility project that's extended water service to the county line where a travelers' campground is probably the largest single customer on the line. More customers and money to repay loans was a reason cited for the project.

It's been criticized as spending money that should have been used to address problems at Lewisburg's sewage treatment plant.

J.R. Wofford, the city utilities' consulting engineer was awarded another contract on Thursday. This time it's to design 10,600 feet of water and sewer lines along one part of State Route 106 where it's better known as the city's bypass, or South Ellington Parkway. The Tennessee Department of Transportation will be widening the section of the road at Fayetteville Highway and toward the Marshall County Emergency Medical Services headquarters.

Marshall County's Board of Public Utilities has been advised that Lewisburg will continue to sell the county-owned water service water at the same rate until its current contract expires. That was to be 24 days after the Thursday meeting.

By that time the city council's authorization for the water rate hike will have gone into effect. The increased revenue flow must be in effect for the city to remain eligible for a low interest rate loan and what amounts to a federal grant to underwrite the state-mandated expansion of the city's sewage treatment plant.