TDEC Says WWTA Has Had 29 Sewer Overflows At Ooltewah Since October 2017; Must Implement Moratorium On New Connections

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has informed the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) that it must implement a moratorium on new connections in the Ooltewah area due to continued sewage overflows.

TDED said there have been 29 overflows since October 2017, including more than five overlows at three specific manholes.

The report says thousands of gallons of sewage have been going into Rogers Branch.

WWTA is currently seeking approval for a new sewage treatment plant for Ooltewah at a site on Mahan Gap Road, but is meeting strong citizen opposition.

The county earlier set aside $45 million for the new treatment facility.

The WWTA currently pipes its effluent to the city's Moccasin Bend Sewage Treatment Plant.

Here is the TDED letter to WWTA:

Dear Sirs:

In a review of the Monthly SSO reports you submitted this year, there have been 29 SSOs in the Ooltewah basin from October 2017 to present. Our review also found that more than five overflows occurred at three (3) specific manholes. To maintain compliance with your permit, you must implement a self-imposed moratorium in this area.

Permit Verification

Hamilton County Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) has coverage under the State Operating Permit Tracking Number SOP-89044 which became effective on October 1, 2014 and expires on July 31, 2019. This permit authorizes the operation of a municipal wastewater collection system. The Hamilton County Water & Wastewater Authority is authorized to collect and transport untreated municipal wastewater to the Chattanooga interceptor sewerage system.

Review of Monthly SSO Reports

WWTA reports its SSOs via email and sends a summary to DWR each month. The following SSOs were reported in the Ooltewah area. Each SSO is a separate violation of Part C.3.b. of your permit.

Ooltewah MH04307-02

•       September 4, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 500 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 20, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 1,875 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 17, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 37,531 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 12, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 7,875 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 2, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 3,500 gallons to Roger's Branch

       July 21, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 36,875 gallons to Roger's Branch

       June 29, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 15,000 gallons to Roger's Branch

       April 24, 2018 MH 04307-02 discharged 14,438 gallons to land

       October 9, 2017 MH 04307-02 discharged 107,376 gallons to Roger's Branch

Ooltewah MH04307-03

       September 24, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 223,500 gallons to Roger's Branch

       September 10, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 9,250 gallons to Roger's Branch

        August 20, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 1,875 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 17, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 25,053 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 12, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 12,000 to Roger's Branch

       August 2, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 3,500 gallons to Roger's Branch

       July 21, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 36,875 gallons to Roger's Branch

       April 24, 2018 MH 04307-03 discharged 49,109 gallons to land

Ooltewah MH04307-04

       September 24, 2018 MH 04307-04 discharged 921,938 gallons to Roger's Branch

       September 10, 2018 MH 04307-04 discharged 18,500 gallons to Roger's Branch

       September 4, 2018 MH 04307-04 discharged 5,000 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 20, 2018 MH 04307-04 discharged 18,750 gallons to Roger's Branch

       August 12,2018 MH04307-04 discharged 73,750 gallons to Roger's Branch

Ooltewah MH04307-01B (Snow Hill Pump Station)

       October 28, 2018 Snow Hill Pump station malfunctioned and discharged

        September 4, 2018 MH04307-01B 100 gallons

        April 24, 2018 MH04307-01B 25 gallons to land

Ooltewah MH99326-A09 and A09X (8402 Streamside Dr.)

       September 24, 2018 MH99326-A09 discharged 490,750 to Roger's Branch

       August 26, 2018 MH99326-A09X discharge 500 gallons to Roger's Branch

        August 13, 2018 MH99326-A09 discharged 38,000 gallons to Roger's Branch

        October 16, 2017 MH99326-A09X discharge 29,250 gallons to Roger's Branch

Your permit also requires that you specify what actions, if any, are taken to prevent adverse impacts to Waters of the State.

Violations:

•       29 SSOs in the Ooltewah Basin during 2018. Each SSO is a violation of Part C.3.b. of your permit.

•        9 of the SSOs occurring in Ooltewah from MH 04307-02 resulted in a discharge to Roger's Branch. Each discharge to Waters  of the State is a violation  of TCA 69-3-114 (a).

•       8 of the SSOs occurring in Ooltewah from MH 04307-03 resulted in a discharge to Roger's Branch. Each discharge to Waters of the State is a violation ofTCA 69-3-114 (a).

•        5 of the SSOs occurring in Ooltewah from MH04307-04 resulted in a discharge to Roger's Branch. Each discharge to Waters of the State is a violation ofTCA69-3-114 (a).

•       3 of the SSOs occurring in Ooltewah were from Snow Hill Pump Station and MH04307- 01B

•       2 of the SSOs occurring at MH 99326-A09 (8402 Streamside Dr.) which resulted in a discharge to Roger's Branch. Each discharge to Waters of the State is a violation of TCA69-3-114 (a).

•       2 of the SSOs occurring at MH 99326-A09X (8402 Streamside Dr.) which resulted in a discharge to Roger's Branch. Each discharge to Waters of the State is a violation of TCA69-3-114 (a).

•       On SSO reports, WWTA does not specify what actions, if any, are taken to prevent adverse impacts to Waters of the State. This is a violation of Part C.4. of your permit.

Required Actions:

•       According to Part C.3.c. of your permit, you must enact a self-imposed moratorium for this basin. Please provide documentation within 30 days of receipt of this letter that this requirement has been met.

       According to Part F. of your permit, you must place signs any bypass/overflow point that has discharged five (5) or more times in the last year. Please provide documentation within 30 days of receipt of this letter that this requirement has been met.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Angela Oberschmidt at (423) 634-5708.

Here is a statement of response from Mike Moon, board chairman of the Hamilton County WWTA:

“Our mission of providing reliable, courteous and low-cost sewer service is one we take seriously. We’ve been working for several years with the EPA as well as TDEC and others on a comprehensive plan to address the issues surrounding bypasses that occur during significant weather events at the Signal Mountain Treatment Plant.  We self-report these instances to the appropriate agencies. This particular plant is handicapped by size as well as geography, but infiltration and inflow from the collection system is the real issue. We will continue to do all we can to address these issues while minimizing the effect on the customers we serve.

"If the intent of the lawsuit is to bring attention to the issue, we applaud the action to raise awareness.  However, if the intent is for a financial settlement for the Riverkeepers, we find this counterproductive to fixing the problem and it would place an undue burden on our rate payers.  We will always vigorously fight to minimize the cost to our customers from such actions.”

 

 


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