Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, March 4, 2022

Chattanooga tees up $337M for stormwater, sewer improvements

Work is underway to assemble multiple sources of funding to make much-needed stormwater and sewer infrastructure investments that will allow Chattanooga to address overflows and satisfy the terms of its consent decree.

The city has multiple ongoing projects that, when complete, will mitigate overflows of its sewer system into the Tennessee River.

The projects – which include stormwater storage, upgrades to Chattanooga’s wastewater plant and the replacement of old equipment – will help the city meet the requirements of the consent decree which the city entered into with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the EPA 10 years ago.

A consent decree is an agreement between the federal government and local government meant to correct a violation of federal law to avoid litigation.

In this case, Chattanooga’s aging sewer system, which combined both sewage and the city’s rainfall into one combined system, was repeatedly overflowing into the Tennessee River, violating the federal Clean Water Act by contaminating the Tennessee River.

The needed repairs were massive in scope and cost many times the size of the city’s entire annual budget, according to a press release, so an agreement was reached between local and federal governments to spread the project over the course of 20 years.

Under the new funding plan, the city will move forward with a competitive application process that may award up to $186 million in low-interest loans to finance several large projects related to wastewater infrastructure.

The EPA invited Chattanooga to apply for these funds through the Water Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act.

The city will also tap into a combination of other funding sources, including State Revolving Loan Funds and cash from its enterprise sewer fund, to fuel the remaining $165 million in improvements.

Specific projects funded by the plan include an oxygen plant replacement, a wet weather treatment upgrade and a solids process optimization implementation at the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant, as well as a system-wide sanitary sewer overflow abatement program.

Learn more about the planned improvements

Source: City of Chattanooga