Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 24, 2013

TSUD has state permit, new commissioner

By Clinton Gill
Smoke Signals editor

CROSSVILLE — William Corbin, the newly selected commissioner for Tansi Sewer Utility District, attended his first meeting in official capacity on April 9. Corbin was selected from a list submitted by the board to County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. last month.

“I’m looking forward to Julie helping me to arrange a tour of the plant so that I can become familiar with it,” said Corbin.

Board positions were nominated and voted on, naming Trey Kerley as president, Virgil Ferguson as vice president and William Corbin as secretary.

The board reported that the state operating permit finally came in. TSUD has been granted a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to operate its wastewater treatment facility, more than a year and a half after a public hearing on the permit application. The new permit, however, includes restrictions on how much treated domestic wastewater can be discharged.

In October 2011, residents voiced concern about the previous NPDES permit, which allowed for discharge of up to 300,000 gallons a day, though the treatment facility can treat about 50,000 gallons a day.

“After reviewing this and studying it in detail today, I understand now why they put the 50,000 cap on there,” said Darian Dykes, plant supervisor. “That’s the design capacity of the facility now. If you exceed that, the state wants you to start looking at engineering plans and start getting into the upgrade stages on the facility.”

The new permit restricts the district to discharging a maximum of 50,000 gallons a day into Lake Hiawatha for golf course irrigation use. The wastewater can be discharged from the impoundment during winter months, between November and March, or during wet weather during summer.

The Tansi Utility District is currently averaging use of about 38,000 gallons a day, with a peak usage of 42,000 gallons. Those figures are from March.

“We’ve seen some spikes that are getting close to that [50,000 gallon limit], but the overall average, you have some days that helps pull that average down, but there is a significant increase from year one, year two and to now ... if you had a chart you could really see it picking up,” said Dykes.

The permit became effective April 1, 2013, and expires March 31, 2016.

Also discussed was a proposal for a refundable deposit to address the issue of non-paying customers.

“We don’t want to penalize anybody,” said Ferguson, “we just want to protect ourselves.”

The issue was raised after a spec home builder ran up a sizable bill during construction and then failed to notify the board after selling the house, leaving the bill unpaid. Options are currently being explored for recovering the delinquent funds, but moving forward, customers will have to pay a refundable deposit in order to have sewer service. 

“$150 sounds good to me,” said Kerley. “I’d like to see a year. If you pay your bill on time, not late, within the first year then we’ll refund you back.”

The board will be sending out copies of the new rules and regulations to customers in the near future.

There have been no official updates from the Property Owners Association regarding the status of the lawsuit; however, TSUD received a packet from ECE (Environmental and Civil Engineering Services, engineer on the sewer system construction project) noting that they had essentially filed the same suit as the POA, but done so  separately.

There was discussion of a letter received from Nashville Attorney Don Scholes, who has been representing TSUD in the lawsuit.

“After we had sent him [Scholes] a letter stating we didn’t feel we were responsible to pay bills for the people in Lake Tansi calling and asking questions, he sent us a letter back stating he had some family issues and thought this was a good time to wash his hands of the lawsuit and step away from it.” said Kerley.

“He claims that we owe him over $15,000. I don’t know what those fees are for.” Ferguson said. “He said that, in January, we owed $13,454.90. There was new charges of $155, and that’s what we questioned, those new charges, that’s when we sent the letter. After those new charges are added he says our bill is $15,399. There’s a difference of $1,885 in his bill. I don’t understand that.”

The difference is actually $1,789.10

The board decided that any bills received will need to be itemized in order for payment to be remitted. Further, any expenditures over $2,500 will need to be approved by the board of directors, except in the case of an emergency.

“If I’m gonna be responsible for it, I would like to have a say so in what the board is doing,” said Ferguson.

In the mean time, TSUD is in search of a new attorney. 

“From what I understand, Don Scholes says that he would help an attorney weed through these lawsuits,” said Ferguson. “If we get a local attorney, he said that he would guide them.”

The next meeting is scheduled for May 14 at 4 p.m.