The city of Chattanooga and the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) are cooperating on a new Lee Highway sewer connection and sewage holding tank just downstream, officials said Tuesday.
The connection is set to be completed by next year.
Justin Holland, city public works administrator, told members of the City Council that with the new Lee Highway connection the WWTA would no longer have to route its sewage through the city of Collegedale.
Also, City Councilman Chip Henderson asked City Attorney Phil Noblett to prepare a resolution seeking a cost/benefit analysis on a consolidation of the city sewer program with the WWTA.
Asked if there would be any opposition, Councilman Jerry Mitchell said there would.
Mr. Holland said there is an agreement that the city of Chattanooga would accept up to 3.69 million gallons of sewage per day at the Lee Highway connector that would be routed to the city's regional Moccasin Bend Sewage Treatment Plant.
The new holding tank nearby would hold WWTA sewage in times of heavy rain. It would be released to flow toward the Moccasin Bend plant when the rain event is over.
Mr. Holland said, "The city and the WWTA have been having conversations." Mike Patrick, the current head of the WWTA, formerly was a top official in the city's sewer program.
The WWTA and the County Commission have been grappling with the issue of how to handle sewage in the growing North Ooltewah area. The county set aside $45 million for a new sewage treatment plant, but the commission voted down a site on Mahan Gap Road for the plant. Officials then said it would take up to $25 million more for a plant at a less favorable site.
It was unclear whether the new Lee Highway connection and holding tank would negate the need for a WWTA sewage facility at North Ooltewah.
Mr. Holland said the city and WWTA would share in costs of constructing the new holding tank at Lee Highway.
He said the Moccasin Bend plant has plenty of capacity during times of regular flows. It treats about 65 million gallons per day, but could go up to 230 million gallons.
However, he said in times of heavy downpours the plant receives as much as 250 million gallons of combined sewage and infiltrating rainwater. He said that causes some sewage to have to go untreated.
The city is building three 10 million gallon sewage holding tanks near the Moccasin Bend plant. That is set to solve the issue of periodic sewage dumping on the west bank and east bank of the Bend into the Tennessee River.