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Spencer Proposes Project Creating New Water Source For Utility District

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Spencer Proposes Project Creating New Water Source For Utility District

Van Buren County Officials reviewed a list of projects from utility districts seeking TDEC infrastructure money Tuesday night.

A $6 million project for a new raw water supply for Spencer headlined the $12.7 million worth of improvements discussed. City Mayor Mickey Robinson said Spencer faces water supply issues with the growth in customers.

“To get growth out here and infrastructure out here, you got to get water provided for these people,” Robinson said. “You got to get that water from the river, because it would be an endless source that you would never run out of.”

The proposed project would create the needed infrastructure to pump water from the Caney Fork River straight to the water treatment facility. Engineering Consultant Zeda Hillis said the new source would improve water quality and answer the shortage. Hillis said the lake used for water now has reached its lowest point in 28 years.

“The lake is just not going to sustain it anymore,” Hillis said. “We found two or three leaks over the summer had we not located and found and fixed, the entire system would have been out of water. That lake was that low this year.”

Hillis said the water source project has been in the works for several years. TDEC approved the project some two years ago but funding has been an issue. Hillis said if the county commits some of its state ARP money, the city could proceed searching for other funding sources to cover the remaining costs.

“When we get grants and loans, we’ll request principal forgiveness through SRF who are very favorable in doing that,” Hillis said. “You want to try to put the least amount of burden on the customers as possible.”

As for the city’s 15 percent match, Robinson said the water fund has about $1.3- $1.5 million to cover the cost.

The city also proposed about $5.9 million worth of water line projects, but Hillis said the raw water project takes priority. Those five projects would increase water capacity and pressure for areas around Highway 111, RT Davis Road, Piney Road, Baker Mountain Road and Old Highway 111.

The Fall Creek Falls Utility District proposed six projects costing about $700,000 rounding out the $12.7 million of projects. The main need is redoing the settling basins.


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