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Lebanon to spend $7 million on sewer rehab
Jul 06, 2005 12:00 am
JULY 1, 2005
Lebanon lawmakers have earmarked $7 million in next year's budget to cover costs associated with a long-range plan to upgrade the city's sewer system and address issues identified by state environmental regulators.
The plan, which Lebanon Commissioner of Finance and Revenue Hal Bittinger said could cost as little as $15 million or top out at roughly $35 million, seeks to implement improvements needed to comply with an order issued by the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in 2004.
"(The total cost) is not fixed," Bittinger said Tuesday. " … Over the next five to 10 years, it could end up being a low of $15 million to a high of $35 million. But, that's still not in place. They're still confirming what all they need to fix."
An agreed order issued by TDEC indicated the city's sewer system suffered a number of chronic overflows over the span of a few years. The state also fined the city last year over the problem, as well as over the city using incorrect testing methods in its wastewater treatment plant.
"We're just getting started, really," Ward 3 Lebanon City Councilor William Farmer said of the $7 million expenditure.
Lebanon Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Baines was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
In addition to the planned upgrades, Farmer said city lawmakers also approved plans to expand city sewer service to South Fork, Horn Springs and Georgetown at a cost of $5.1 million.
Bittinger noted the expansion represented the last in a "long line" of sewer expansions into areas the city annexed roughly a decade ago.
"They didn't already have sewer lines. They were on septic tanks, and the septic tanks were going bad because they had too many houses," he explained. "Years ago, the city annexed a lot of territory that didn't have sewer. The city no longer does that. Any new developments have to already have sewer.
"So, this is the last of this type of situation. That probably cost the city $10 million to $15 million over the years, going all the way back to Indian Hills Road, Shenandoah and all of those subdivisions."
After the 2005-06 budget year, however, Bittinger said there would be no more sewer expenditures of that nature.
"All we'll be doing is fixes to maintenance problems and new lines for undeveloped territory. They may make business developers do that, but there are areas that developers are wanting to develop for commercial that don't have sewer lines," he said. "It will have to be decided whether the city is going to fund any of that or require developers to pay 100 percent of that."
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.