What's In Your Water Part II, Down Stream

The Loudon Redskins may have won the Battle Of The Bridge but Lenoir City may be exacting the ultimate revenge. Recently there has been a lot of discussion of the inadequacies of Lenoir City's water system. We have learned the fact that a third or better of the fire hydrants are substandard and the drinking water is seriously contaminated due to the lack of upgrades and maintenance. However there is another time bomb ticking that believe it or not could even be worse.

Documents received from the State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), reveal that the Lenoir City Utilities Board is currently under a Commissioner's Order to clean up their act. According to TDEC's 2006 Order and Assessment, the waste water treatment plant (WWTP) and sewer system registered 80 violations of LCUB's permit prompting the commissioner's order. LCUB is staring down the barrel of $156,000.00 in fines. The fines are subjective to LCUB meeting a number of benchmarks for improvements and upgrades. Thus far LCUB has paid $22,500.00 of these fines. LCUB's WWTP permit expired in March of this year.

The 80 violations noted in the order are for allowing a lot of nasty stuff to enter the Tennessee River. Most of the violations were caused due to over taxed and out dated sewage treatment plant. Cost estimates to upgrade the plant range from 6 to 10 million dollars. Money the city nor LCUB have. Yet until the upgrades are made system failures can be expected to continue and that "stuff" going into the river has but one direction to go. Down stream. 

The old saying that poo runs down hill could not be more appropriate. And down that hill just a scant few miles is the drinking water intake for the city of Loudon. The short distance between Lenoir City's out going and Loudon's incoming doesn't hardly permit the "stuff" in the river to even settle to the bottom. The city of Loudon has just recently completed a new state of the art water treatment plant and probably not a minute too soon. Wonder if those new property owners at the vaunted Tennessee National Development know what's floating by their lake front lots?

With all the known problems with the LCUB WWTP, Lenoir City has continued to add thousands of new sewer customers to the already over loaded WWTP. Many of those new sewer additions aren't even in the city and in at least in one instance, not even in the county. Macedonia Industrial Park, Roane County. Given that city and LCUB officials are well aware of the problems with the WWTP, how in good conscious could they continue to add more and more waste to a system that obviously can't handle it? Factor in the new Creekwood development and the Town Creek Development. Where's all that waste going to go?

Between the supply water upgrades that desperately need to come, the sewer plant upgrades that will have to be done and the fines facing the city, somebody's going to have to pay and pay big. Rate payers and tax payers, get ready. This is just another example of city officials failing to address priorities.

For the entire text on the Commissioner's order, click here.