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Cookeville Water Seeks Funding For Water Plant Expansion

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Water Seeks Funding For Water Plant Expansion

The Cookeville Water Department has applied for funding to expand capacity at its Center Hill Lake water treatment plant.

Community Development Partners is assisting the city with the $17.5 million EPA loan application. President Evan Saunders said the current water plant’s capacity approaches 80 percent use, a level where the state recommends an expansion.

“That’s really the intent of this project,” Saunders said. “To grow the plant from 15 million gallons a day to 22.5 million gallons a day potential, so there is ample capacity not only for current demand but well into the future.”

Saunders said the interest rate for the loan will not be final until closure, but rates usually range from 1-2 percent over 20 years. Saunders said a healthy Cookeville budget means a rate increase will not be required from taking on the debt.

“A loan of this magnitude, they have to look at existing rates and existing operating budgets,” Saunders said. “The program has reviewed the city’s most recent audit report and rate structures. In this case, they determined in order to get this money the city does not have to raise rates specifically for this project. This means the city has done an excellent job.”

Saunders said the city should hear word back on the loan in the coming weeks, which will determine a timeline for the project. Water Department Director Ronnie Kelly said the city has been working on the capacity increase since the 1990’s, and this project is the last piece of the puzzle.

“We’ve built new 30 inch water lines to town. We’ve put new tanks in. All in anticipation of this day,” Kelly said. “Redid all the pumps. It’s been a 10 to 15 year period.”

Saunders said the design for the project is ready to go. Kelly said a whole new wing would be added to the water plant.

The original facility was built in 1971 with a 7.5 million gallon capacity. The most recent improvement was made in 1982 for a 15 million gallon capacity.


The post Cookeville Water Seeks Funding For Water Plant Expansion appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.