Officials of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority issued a statement Wednesday saying that any final merger agreement with the city sewer system must include the city's Moccasin Bend plant handling the WWTA effluent.
The statement says, "WWTA has been encouraged by the city of Chattanooga and the Hamilton County Commission to engage in discussions about merging the sewer system the WWTA operates with the Chattanooga system.
Both entities expressed support for research that could result in a system that could operate more efficiently and be able to handle the WWTA flow at the city’s Moccasin Bend treatment plant.
"Because the WWTA is in active negotiations regarding the terms of a consent decree with the EPA, it is important to recognize that the final agreement will require the city of Chattanooga and the WWTA to cooperate to have WWTA flow effectively treated at Moccasin Bend. The negotiations include a requirement for the WWTA to enter into a formal agreement with the city to address the use of the Moccasin Bend plant for WWTA flow into the future."
At a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, two representatives were chosen to speak for WWTA. They will be interim Executive Director Mike Patrick and Board Chairman Mike Moon.
John McPherson has resigned from the board. Board Member Dick Gee was appointed to replace Mr. McPherson as chairman of the WWTA Engineering Committee.
Resolutions passed by the commissioners include agreements to accept ownership of two sewer systems, one at Caney Ridge in the Ooltewah area for $30,000 and the system of the Perry Village phase 3 in East Ridge for the price of $26,332.
HDR, Inc has been pre-qualified to perform engineering services for two years.
Amendments were approved for two projects that are in process. The WWTA will pay CTI Engineers, Inc. an additional $20,500 for a total cost not to exceed $133,700 for services related to the work to alleviate the moratorium in Red Bank. That project was complicated by a railroad. Changes have been made from the original plans for the Lee Highway pump station upgrade and force main reroute. The WWTA has agreed to pay an additional amount of $29,000 for a total cost not to exceed $411,000 for engineering services to Santec Consulting. The WWTA will also buy three submersible sewage pumps for $218,500 for that project.
Fees and sewer billing will be changed for sewer systems that use grinder pumps. Those already in existence will continue to be maintained as they currently are. Any new ones installed must conform to the specifications of the WWTA and be purchased from either the Authority or from an approved manufacturer. The ones installed after May 1, 2019 will not be maintained by the WWTA and will not be subject to the 1.10 surcharge. Maintenance will be the responsibility of the homeowner. Property which has access to sewers will be charged for sewerage regardless of whether the sewer connection has been made.
Statistics from the WWTA for Tennessee American Water customers show that current billing is $831,341. Accounts that are four months in arrears total $171,016. The collection rate from December 2018 was 96.6 percent, just below the cumulative collection rate of 96.9 percent.
The next meeting of the WWTA Board of Commissioners will be May 15.