Chapel Hill gets $311K to fix pipe

Friday, October 22, 2010

NASHVILLE -- Chapel Hill is getting a $311,000 federal grant awarded by state officials who say they know the importance of maintaining infrastructure.

That includes replacement of an old sewer with a bigger pipe that's installed with a better grade to improve flow, according to Chapel Hill Administrator Mike Hatten.

"This is really going to help the sewer system with the flow to the main pump station and from there to the lagoon," Hatten said.

The pipe to be replaced is under Eveningside Drive behind the Shell convenience store in the vicinity of Southeast Forrest Drive, Morningside Drive and the Swanson Cemetery. Replacement will require excavation.

"This is one of the main collector pipes to our primary lift station," Hatten said. "It collects all the wastewater in town."

Gov. Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber announced their decision to approve the Community Development Block Grant to assist in the rehabilitation of Chapel Hill's sewerage system.

"We understand the significant impact this grant will have on ... Chapel Hill, and we are grateful for the chance to put these grant dollars to work," Sen. Bill Ketron said. "The entire community will benefit from the CDBG funding and I look forward to seeing the Town of Chapel Hill prosper in important new ways."

Rep. Eddie Bass is also pleased this grant has been awarded to Chapel Hill.

"The foundation of this community will only grow stronger with the help provided and will bring new opportunities and the creation of quality jobs to the town," Bass said.

Funding for the $383,950 project will include $72,950 from Chapel Hill's budget reserves. The grant money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"These grants are essential to the growth and maintenance of the infrastructure that attracts new jobs and other investments that help Tennessee communities thrive," Bredesen said. "I'm pleased the state of Tennessee is able to assist and our partnership with our communities continues."

Kisber said, "Economic growth and job creation is a team effort between the state and local communities and it starts from the ground up."

The grant was approved following an application by the town and has the support of U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon.

Allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set at local levels where community needs are best known.

Bredesen and Kisber approved more than $28 million in CDBG funds to assist with infrastructure improvements in Tennessee.

Other grants were approved for: Shelbyville, $450,000; Mt. Pleasant, $400,000;

Spring Hill, $500,000; Decherd, $500,000; Sparta, $500,000; and Lynnville, $487,910, among others.

Bids are to be called as soon as possible, Hatten said. Construction will begin after the first of the year. Griggs and Maloney, the town's consulting engineering firm, has designed the project.

"We will have an inspector on the job site, so we know everything is put in properly," the town administrator said. "When our initial system was put in, it wasn't and we have had problems.

"We applied for the grant in February," he said. "It was our second time to apply for it."

The replacement pipe with better installation is needed to help prevent slow flow and back ups, he said. Some problems have been solved with a stronger pump. A 20-horse power pump was replaced with a 60-hp pump.

Like Lewisburg and other cities, Chapel Hill suffers overflows when rain falls and water seeps into sewers, thereby increasing volume. The dilute sewage flows from manholes.

In Chapel Hill, though, "There is really only one manhole," Hatten said. "It's at Morningside Drive and Southeast Forrest Drive."

The overflow is "the lesser of the two evils," the town manager said, noting it's better than sewage backing up into service lines and homes.