The Hamilton County Water & Wastewater Treatment Authority closed out 2020 with the completion of projects across the county totaling nearly $23 million. The Authority begins the new year with another $22,534,883 of projects that are either in planning and design or phases of construction.
Officials with the Authority noted that the significant number of projects reflects the accelerated work plan as required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The projects will assist the WWTA in attaining compliance with the Consent Decree agreement that is anticipated to be executed later this year. Projects completed include the rehabilitation of the East Ridge Basin 10, upgrades to force main projects and pump stations in Ooltewah and projects in Red Bank.
Michael Patrick, executive director of the WWTA, said, “We have over 20 projects across Hamilton County that are in various stages of development. Our team is especially focused on projects that will assist in making upgrades and rehabilitation to assist us in meeting infrastructure needs- -especially in the traditional rainy season which we are in at this time. Sewer overflows lead to run-off and contamination in our area’s streams. We are focused on reducing and eliminating these events.”
In addition, Mr. Patrick noted the strong resolve by members of the Authority to be good stewards of dollars entrusted to do the work. “Last year, the WWTA was able to refinance bonds resulting in a savings of $519, 629. Thanks to support from the board, we not only saved money, but we also eliminated a $3.8 million balloon payment that would have come due at the end of the bond period.”
Mr. Patrick concluded that while the WWTA is making great strides in EPA’s accelerated work plan, the Authority still has a great deal of work ahead. “Like so many communities across the country, Hamilton County has aging sewer infrastructure that must be rehabilitated and upgraded to meet present and future needs and place us in compliance. We look forward to the projects the new year brings and the difference their completion will make on our environment.”
WWTA Board Chair Dick Gee said, “We recognize that bringing our present sewer system up to a safe and healthy standard is an overwhelming task; however, the board is confident that the men and women of the WWTA are up to the challenge. We are very proud of the work done to-date and look forward to a brighter future.”