WWTA Still On Track For Mahan Gap Road Site Despite Recent County Commission Vote

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA) is still on track to place a sewage treatment plant at 7800 Mahan Gap Road despite a recent adverse vote by the County Commission.

The WWTA has applied with the Regional Planning Agency for a special permit to build and operate a North Ooltewah Sewage Treatment Plant at that location.

It is slated to go before the Planning Commission on Nov. 12 and the full County Commission on Dec. 19. It will also be heard by a committee of the County Commission a week prior to the vote of the nine-member panel.

The commission earlier voted down a resolution to provide a $3 million advance to the WWTA toward purchase of the 157-acre site from Danna Smith, of Menlo, Ga. A number of commissioners said they had not been briefed on the issue and were caught off guard.

Robin Derryberry of Derryberry Public Relations said a series of public meetings are planned, including one today (Thursday) at the Fire Training Station at 9100 Snow Hill Road from 5:30-7 p.m. She said Mark Harrison, WWTA executive director, will be addressing the Ooltewah Chamber of Commerce next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Other public sessions include Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m. and Nov. 8 - both at the Harrison Ruritan Club.

The application says the Ooltewah area is rapidly growing and taxing the current infrastructure. It says the choices are to continue shipping waste by pipe to the city's Moccasin Bend Sewage Treatment Plant or to build a new facility at Ooltewah.

It says it requires some 40 miles of pipe for some of the Ooltewah waste to reach Moccasin Bend with attendant infiltration, inflow and odor problems.

The Mahan Gap site maximizes the use of gravity flow, it was stated.

The application says discussion of a sewage treatment plant for Ooltewah goes back to at least 1971 when it is listed in a report.

It says a significant portion of the Smith tract is in the floodplain, but it says there are 77 acres in the northern portion suitable for the sewage plant site. The plant would be centered on 51 acres. It says steps will be taken to conserve a wetland area and to have landscape buffers and odor control measures.

The application says the process for permitting and construction is expected to take 5-7 years.

It says treated effluent would go directly into the Tennessee River.

The county earlier set aside $45 million in a bond issue for acquiring the land and constructing the plant.


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