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Utility works on 15-year plan

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By The Staff

By JENNIFER RAYMONDee

rcraymond@bellsouth.net

>The Rockwood Water, Wastewater and Natural Gas Board is trying to get one step ahead of the game.

In order to do that, the board has established a 15-year strategic plan for its facilities, including improvements and upgrades.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” Chairman and City Councilman James Neal said.

The board will meet with city council and representative John West from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation at 6 p.m. May 6.

“I don’t know of any other utility doing this,” Neal said.

The board is hoping to meet with West and get feedback on their plan.

“It shows them what we’re working toward,” board member John Sublett said.

According to the board, all the things the plan outlines are improvements and upgrades that the state will eventually mandate.

The plan is split into three parts and five-year increments.

The first phase will require an upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant by using an activated sludge treatment process such as an oxidation ditch.

According to general manager Rod King, the ditch would help the plant meet the ammonia discharge limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The cost is estimated at $1.2 million.

The next phase involves an upgrade to the oxidation ditch which would reduce nitrogen and phosphorus contents of the water.

This would cost about $950,000.

The last phase involves building a main line to the main channel.

This would change the treatment plant’s discharge location from Black Creek to either Watts Bar Lake or the Tennessee River.

Cost for the last phase is estimated at $6 million.

The total estimated for all projects would be $8.15 million.

“These prices could change and will change,” Sublett said.

At the meeting, the board will outline ways to pay for the projects, which could include a rate increase in the future.

“At least we know where we’re going,” Sublett said.