By Jim Young
The Crossville City Council met in a work session Monday to discuss sewer line improvement projects, a water and sewer rate study, a veterans cemetery proposed for the Upper Cumberland followed by a closed meeting with their attorneys on the soccer field wetlands environmental issue.
The council heard from GRW engineers who have studied the infiltration and inflow (I & I) issues in a portion of the city's sewer collection system. The city's system is divided up into three sections and GRW used flow meters to study the effects of rainfall events on the amount of stormwater flow coming to the city's lines and wastewater treatment plant. Engineers Jim Hilborn and Bob Threadgill addressed the council with their findings and recommendations.
Jim Hilborn reviewed the history of the city's sewer collection starting with the 1930s when, typically for the time, clay pipes were installed and raw sewage was simply directed to a creek at the edge of town. Hilborn explained that in the 1960s rules changed and the city built its first wastewater treatment plant.
The plant at the current location off of Sparta Highway was built in 1979 and using grant funds because of the protection of the Obed River. According to Hilborn, while discharge into the Obed is regulated it has helped Crossville gain funding to keep their plant up to date.
Threadgill explained that the test that GRW ran on the system to document the effect of I & I on the city's collection system showed how that affects the operation of the city's wastewater treatment plant. GRW installed flow meters on seven lines and tracked the flows for three months of operation. The seven data collection points were then reviewed and the flow compared with rainfall amounts at the time. The worst lines have been recommended for further action.
According to Threadgill, the I & I gets into the system through old joints between pipes, cracked clay and concrete lines, as well as other leaking points on manholes. For many years pipe joints and other joints were sealed with concrete that would eventually wash away leaving open joints allowing inflow. In addition, early expansion would use so called “hammer taps” to add new service lines by knocking a hole in the main pipe and joining a service line using the same concrete joints. None of these techniques are used any longer. Rubber gaskets and PVC lines are used now creating better protections from I & I.
GRW recommended to the city that the next step in repairing the I & I problem was additional testing including smoke tests and running cameras through the pipes. The additional tests will allow plans to be made to repair bad sections of the lines that allow outside water into the lines. The city has applied for financing through the state revolving loan fund to make necessary repairs and the city is waiting to hear about a grant in the next few weeks that would help pay for some of the needed repairs.
Veolia manager Clark Annis explained that the city has been working on these I & I issues for some time and he said that the city is on track with the project and long range planning. According to Annis, Crossville is recognized as proactive on the matter and it is a way that allows the city to keep growing without more expensive expansions of the wastewater treatment plant.
City Finance Director Fred Houston discussed the MTAS rate study prepared at the request of Crossville. The study shows that the city will need to consider a 2 percent annual increase in water and sewer rates to pay for the repairs and general increases in costs of personnel and supplies.
The council also heard from Mark Pfaffenroth who is the Cumberland County representative on the steering committee working to locate possible property for an Upper Cumberland Veterans Cemetery. The project started April of this year and the target is to have a new cemetery operation by the fall of 2018.
Pfaffenroth explained that the US Veterans Administration will pay for design and construction of the project along with staff but will not pay to buy property. Property has to be purchased using local funds and/or donations. They are looking for approximately 100 acres near the interstate or a main 4 lane road.
Crossville Mayor J. H. Graham suggested the steering committee look at the city's property at Chestnut Hill as a possible location. The city has 200 acres separate from the former city landfill property. The VA is also looking for a location for a veterans home as well that possibly could be located on the property along with a military museum as well.
All the councilmen felt it was worth pursuing the investigation of property for that use. The steering committee will look at all the possible locations and pick the top three to submit to the VA for final selection.