Roy Exum: WWTA’s Sewage Spills

Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I have before me a copy of a six-page letter that was mailed approximately two months ago to officials and board members of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Authority. This letter, sent via certified mail from the State of Tennessee’s Department of Environment and Conservation, alleges that the WWTA between October 2017 and November 1, 2018, allowed over 2 million gallons of raw sewage to be spilled into Lake Chickamauga, its tributaries, and adjacent lands.

The letter cites 29 separate Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) in the Ooltewah Basin area last year  – more specifically in the Rogers Branch tributary -- and each is considered a violation of WWTA’s Permit with the State, in addition to a number of state and federal water protection laws. The WWTA officials have already been called to meet with the federal Environment Protection Agency later this month in Atlanta.

The WWTA has been severely criticized by residents of Ooltewah and north Hamilton County for the past year. Part of the Hampton Creek golf course in now closed for sanitation reasons and untreated sewage is commonly seen flowing across Snow Hill Road. Because the problem hasn’t been addressed in recent years, the mess has grown into a gargantuan nightmare.

More recently, there has been a huge outcry over the now questionable location of a proposed water treatment facility on Mahan Gap Road in Ooltewah. The north Hamilton County area is one of the fastest growth areas in the state and desperately needs a modernized system to handle the bourgeoning sewer needs. It has been reported that last year over 1,400 septic tank permits were issued. While it will take at least two years to build such a facility, over 10,000 new homes will be built in the area at the same time.

The livid emotions and rattling rage will only intensify with each new day. Just wait until copies of the damning “Letter of Violations” is circulated and area residents learn that on September 24 of last year – in just one day -- over 1,636,188 gallons of sewage was spilled in Rogers Branch, which flows into Wolftever Creek before entering the Tennessee River near the Island Cove on Highway 58.

Other large spills include 107,376 gallons on Oct. 9 of last year, another 73,750 gallons on August 1, and 49,109 gallons on April 24.

The afflicted area is about 10 miles upstream from the Tennessee-American Water Company’s river intake facility that provides drinking water for Hamilton County and some outlying areas.

Here are the allegations and violation reports in the TDEC letter date November 1, 2018. It is believed there have been additional spills since the certified letter was written:

* * *

REVIEW OF MONTHLY ‘SANITARY SEWER OVERFLOW’ REPORTS

WWTA reports its Sanitary Sewer Overflows (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.

LOCATION: OOLTEWAH MANHOLE 04307-02

* -- 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

LOCATION: OOLTEWAH MANHOLE 04307-03

* -- 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

LOCATION: OOLTEWAH MANHOLE 04307-04

* -- 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

LOCATION: OOLTEWAH MANHOLE 04307-01B (Snow Hill Pump Station)

* -- October 28, 2018 Snow Hill Pump station malfunctioned and discharged (amount omitted)

* -- September 4, 2018 MH04307-01B 100 gallons

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

LOCATION: OOLTEWAH MANHOLE 99326-A09 and A09X (8402 Streamside Dr.)

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

* -- August 26, 2018 MH99326-A09X discharged 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 BETWEEN OCTOBER 1, 2017 UP TO NOVEMBER 1, 2018

* -- 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 of TCA 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 of TCA69-3-114 (a).

* -- 3 of the SSOs occurring in Ooltewah were from Snow Hill Pump Station and MH0430701 B

* -- 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 TCA69-3-1 14 (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 TCA69-3-1 14 (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.

* * *

The violations notice was sent to Mark Harrison, WWTA executive director, and the group’s chairman, Mike Moon. Copies were sent to the WWTA board, which included (at the time) Jim Adams, Peter Avisto, Billy Cooper, Kenny Custer, Boyd Veal, Tyler Howell, Curtis Jones, Walker Jones, Bill McGriff, and Ed Watt. Michael Bascom of TDEC also received a copy.

royexum@aol.com


The Dollar Value Of The Trump Administration - And Response

Roy Exum: Walmart vs 535 Morons

Roy Exum: Swimming With Jim Morgan


I wanted to add to Roy Exum's "reveal" article helping us all understand just what the cost of running the government is. I went just a bit further this morning asking this question, what is ... (click for more)

There is an anonymous paper on the Internet that tells how Walmart could do a better job running America instead of the pompous flops and duds we send to Washington. Please try to connect the ... (click for more)

I’ve never talked much about this – it is too close to bragging – but in my teenaged years I was a good swimmer. I loved being in the water and maybe the greatest compliment back in the day was ... (click for more)


Opinion

The Dollar Value Of The Trump Administration - And Response

I wanted to add to Roy Exum's "reveal" article helping us all understand just what the cost of running the government is. I went just a bit further this morning asking this question, what is the president's staff and about what does it cost the taxpayers each year? Now assume you are very satisfied with Trump no matter what the cost, then this article will only bolster that support. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Walmart vs 535 Morons

There is an anonymous paper on the Internet that tells how Walmart could do a better job running America instead of the pompous flops and duds we send to Washington. Please try to connect the dots on Walmart’s 1.6 million employees and the obscene profits that they make versus our 535 members of Congress who blow through money while “WallyWorld” churns out an average of $20-thousand ... (click for more)

Breaking News

DA's Office Will Not Prosecute Charges Against Man Who Was Beaten By City Officer

The District Attorney's Office said it will not prosecute charges against a man who was beaten by a city police officer after a traffic stop. The DA is dismissing charges against 37-year-old Fredrico Wolfe. Wolfe was charged in an incident last March 10 with DUI, violating the implied consent law, tampering with evidence, speeding, drug possession and resisting arrest. ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Schools To Close Thursday Due To Expected Ice On Roads

Hamilton County Schools will be closed Thursday due to forecast rain to last through the evening and freezing conditions to follow after 2 a.m. in the higher elevations in the county. Freezing conditions are expected to last until the afternoon in the higher elevations impacting travel in the area. Athletic events will be rescheduled and practices canceled Thursday evening. ... (click for more)

Sports

Massey Brings "A New Excitement" To Silverdale Baseball

Over the last few days, Chattanooga has been dealing with a brutally cold weather system that struck like a frigid shockwave from the northwest. Throw in yet several more rounds of rain nearing the cusp of sleet or snow and high school basketball teams heading down the backstretch of the 2018-19 regular season and it made Tuesday an odd time for baseball talk. Yet, Jon Massey, ... (click for more)

#1 Tennessee Escapes With Overtime Win At Vandy

In their first action since being elevated to No. 1 in the nation, the Tennessee Vols barely escaped with a win at Vanderbilt. Tennessee started with a 15-2 lead, but trailed by six late in the game on Wednesday at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville. The Vols rallied to tie at 76-76 and Grant Williams, who scored 43 points and hit all his 23 free throws, had a chance to win it. ... (click for more)