Skip to Content

$4 Million Grant Will Prevent Power Outage At Cookeville Water Plant

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
$4 Million Grant Will Prevent Power Outage At Cookeville Water Plant

A grant of some $4 million will protect Cookeville’s water treatment plant from power outages.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation awarded Cookeville the grant for resource protection. Director of Water Quality Control Barry Turner said the department will use the money to move overhead power lines underground and install a generator.

“This project not only gets a generator to power the intake, but it also gets the lines down to the intake underground,” Turner said. “We’ve had some problems with trees falling on those lines, and it’s a steep hill down to the intake.”

Turner said several years ago, a tree fell on the powerlines that run from the raw water intake to the water treatment plant. Turner said the department nearly ran out of clean water to provide to the city. Turner said he expects the project to be complete by the fall of 2026.

“We’ve done a lot of the planning over the past few years,” Turner said. “This is something that’s been on our wishlist, but we don’t have the design done. We’ve done requests for proposals to select an engineer.”

Turner said the department provides water to areas surrounding Putnam County. He said the city of Cookeville and surrounding communities need to be able to depend on the water department, even in emergencies. The new generator will have auxiliary power to keep the plant operational, even if it temporarily loses power.

“It’s sort of like insurance,” Turner said. “Most of the time you don’t need a generator. You hope you don’t need a generator, but when you need it, it’d be good to have.”

TDEC gave out 49 grants totaling some $19 million from the state’s American Rescue Plan fund. Cookeville was selected for one of 27 resource protection grants from a competitive pool of applicants. The city will pay some $210,000 for the project, with the grant taking care of the rest.

“We’ll wait on the grant contract from TDEC before we get into full speed, but we will try to accelerate everything as best we can to make sure we get that completed before that September ’26 deadline.”

Turner said he has known for years that the facility is vulnerable to power outages. He said he would be glad to have the extra security from the generator and minimized risk from the underground power lines in the event of heavy winds or ice storms once the project is complete.


The post $4 Million Grant Will Prevent Power Outage At Cookeville Water Plant appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.