BY SARAH R. GREGORY
The Greeneville Water Department will soon begin an application process in an attempt to secure grant funding to construct a new clearwell tank -- a project consulting engineers say is unavoidable and must be taken on at some point.
During the Water Commission's regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Laura White told the board that $250,000 in funding for the project has been included in the department's capital budget.
The existing concrete tank, estimated to have been built in the early 1960s, has deficiencies that have resulted in leaks, commissioners were told.
"We just really do need a new tank," White said.
Even though some funds for the project are included in the Water Department's capital budget, White said, the utility is also eligible to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
At a public meeting held earlier in the month to discuss CDBG grant opportunities, three potential projects were discussed with representatives of the First Tennessee Development District (FTDD).
HUD distributes funds to the states, which are then administered to communities through state entities such as FTDD.
The three projects being considered were: installation of an on-site disinfection system at the Water Treatment Plant; a disinfection system that uses UV light rays at the Wastewater Treatment Plant; and replacement of the clearwell tank, which is used to wash filters.
At the meeting, FTDD representatives indicated that, of the three options, the clearwell project would likely stand the greatest chance of receiving grant assistance.
The existing concrete tank has some leaks, and has had a special liner installed to help address the problem, White said.
However, that liner is considered only a temporary "bandage," said White and Gary McGill, of Knoxville-based McGill Associates, which provides engineering and consultation services for the Town of Greeneville.
McGill told commissioners that, if awarded, the CDBG grant could provide as much as $500,000 for the project -- an amount which would allow the Water Department to install a larger-size tank.
Currently, filters must be cleansed on a cycle as the existing tank is not large enough to accommodate all the filters at once, McGill said.
If the grant is awarded, a local match would be required.
At the public meeting earlier in the month, FTDD representatives said the grant could pay for up to 73 percent of a project, with local funds providing 27 percent of the cost.
Action taken by the Water Commission on Tuesday only provides authorization to apply for the grant funding, and does not guarantee that the grant will be awarded and the project will take place.
The measure passed by a vote of 2-to-1, with commissioners Johnny Honeycutt and Brandon Hull voting in favor, and Joe Waggoner voting against.
Waggoner indicated that he had not had enough time to consider the three options.
The issue was a late addition to the commission's agenda, White said. She explained that notice would have to be given to FTDD by Thursday of this week if the department was to move forward with the grant application.
Even if the grant is awarded, however, the project will not be able to start for more than a year.
Grant awards will be announced in fall of 2014, and construction work likely would not begin until 2015, she said.