Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

June 4, 2014

City discusses aquatic center, sewer system repair and upgrades

CROSSVILLE — Crossville City Council discussed a possible aquatic center and improvements to the city's wastewater system during a work session last Thursday.

Council has talked about an aquatic center for a number of years, but the cost of such a building with indoor and outdoor pools, as well as other amenities, and the operating costs has so far kept the project only on the drawing board. Recent comments about recreation projects indicated a lot of residents are interested in such a project and the city is expecting a recreation master plan in the near future.

Councilman Jesse Kerley requested the item to be discussed during the work session. City Manager David Rutherford said staff members looked at the center currently being operated in Manchester, a city with a very similar population as Crossville.

The construction of such a facility is estimated to cost at least $10 million, with operation costs as much as $1 million per year, depending on the programs and services offered. The facility would offer memberships and, possibly, daily admission.

Partnerships with Covenant Health and Cumberland County would still need to be determined. The Manchester facility was funded by the city only and fees are discounted for city residents over county residents there.

Kerley was interested in getting the matter on this fall's ballot for a referendum but Rutherford recommended the city wait until the partnerships can be put together. Rutherford explained the referendum would have to outline costs and expenses and, if the city had no partners in place, that could mean a tax increase of 28.75 cents on the current 53 cent tax rate.

The council will continue to discuss the idea once they receive the recreation plan.

The council also heard from GRW Engineers on the results of a recent study of old infrastructure sewer lines that suffer from significant inflow and infiltration (I & I). The city has received a $500,000 grant to work on the problem, including the study and repair work. In addition to the work paid for through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the engineers indicated that there was additional work that would be needed.

Only a small amount of work can be done using the grant and the engineers advised the council they had prioritized the worst areas and were recommending that work be done in the area of Dooley St. and the library area behind the Cumberland County Courthouse.

A loan and grant from the state revolving loan fund has been secured by the city totaling $1.9 million and that money could be used to do additional repairs and upgrades to the wastewater system.

Engineer Bob Threadgill told the council, “You've got some serious problems.”

He said the lines in those areas were old clay lines with some partly collapsed, roots growing in and and other problems. Threadgill explained new technology called “pipe-bursting” could allow necessary repairs to be made without digging up the existing lines.

The pipe bursting process involves a round wedge pulled through the existing lines then a pipe liner is run through the pipe between man holes. According to the engineers, the size of the original pipe can even be enlarged as part of the process without digging up the whole line. Much of the work proposed for the old lines will be repaired this way.

Councilman Pete Souza asked, if water was able to get into the sewer lines, was raw sewage also able to leak out of the lines. Souza was told that it would. Souza commented he felt the $1.9 million would not solve all the city's problems

In addition to the sewer line work, upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant were discussed along with ways to increase the capacity of the current wastewater treatment plant.

According to GRW's Jim Hillborn, the city has two years left on its current wastewater plant permit. The plant is rated at 3.5 million gallons per day and, in order to be ready for future expansion, the city would like to see the rating increased to 5 million gallons per day.

In addition to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, other stakeholders in the process of increasing the capacity of the plant includes Tennessee Clean Water Network and the National Park Service. The Obed River where the plant discharges is categorized as a zero flow stream in that the only flow into the river at the discharge point is from the plant itself. The Obed is also classed as a tier 3 river with the highest level of protection.

The engineers advised the city that they had some bargaining power now that they would not have in another two years when the permit expires. The new permit, if approved, would require essentially the same discharge of chemicals now with the higher amount of capacity. The city could discharge more water, but it would have to discharge no more of the chemicals then under the current lower permit.

Engineers are currently studying the plant and looking at changes to the process to accomplish the reductions required. The plant changes are estimated to cost $500,000 while a new plant to add the proposed 1.5 million gallon per day capacity could cost $12 to $15 million.

One alternative is to apply the wastewater treatment discharge water to land, rather than let it flow into the river. This would reduce the amount of chemicals put into the Obed River, but the cost of purchasing land and equipment for such a facility would be about $7.5 million, requiring at least 172 acres of property.

Karina Byrum with the TDEC office in Cookeville attended the meeting and told the council that the city has been progressive on water and wastewater and working on the issues now to be ready for future changes in their permit was helpful and could help their expansion plans.

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