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BMA approves $3 million for wastewater plant improvements

The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution on Sept. 12 to authorize the terms of a Rural Development grant/loan for just over $3.27 million to fund Phase I improvements to the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
That total also includes $700,000 for water improvement at the 25-year-old treatment plant.
This action was the final step by the BMA to obtain a long-term loan at a fixed interest rate of 3.25 percent over 38 years.
Issuance of the bond will allow the Town of Jonesborough to carry out water and wastewater improvements to the town’s system that will include oxidation ditches, clarifiers and establishing a screening process.
The total cost for Phase I – the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant – is 4.7 million that includes a $1.5 million grant from Rural Development.
“Once this loan is closed, we can begin a construction timeline for the project,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said. “This is something we’ve worked toward for a long time,” he added. “You’re not looking at a band-aid; you’re looking at a fix.”
Wolfe said although discussions concerning the improvements began when he was running for mayor 2007, the condition of and dire need of improvement for the wastewater treatment plant has been an ongoing situation for the last 20 years.
“We are operating today on a half million gallons a day capacity at our sewer plant,” Wolfe said. “With this expansion, our treatment capacity will roughly triple and with the new growth that has gone on in the last several years and the continued growth Industrial Park, this project is essential for Jonesborough’s long-term security.”
Wolfe said the project is designed to bring Jonesborough’s wastewater treatment system into compliance with the State of Tennessee regulations. “This will eliminate the pollution of Little Limestone Creek,” Wolfe said. “It will also allow us to expand our capacity and take an effluent line to the Nolichucky River.”
Wolfe said at this point, both phases of the project are “a go.”
Phase II will include taking the pipe from the sewer plant to the intersection of Treadway Trail and Taylor Bridge Road, and extend it about 2,000 feet beyond the intersection and into the Nolichucky River.
“We already have a $1 million federal grant secured for that from the Economic Community Development grant,” Wolfe said.
“We’re hoping to close the loan and start the bid process,” Wolfe said. “But considering that we have some tweaking of the final design and considering that it takes a while, we’re likely looking at a groundbreaking in the spring although we would be happy for it to happen sooner.”
“I’m personally very proud of our BOA, our sewer task force and our town staff for the exhaustive efforts in making this solution a reality,” Wolfe added.
Town Administrator Bob Browning said that additional grant money has been committed from the Appalachian Regional Commission for Phase II.
“We are asking ARC to allow us to shift the use of that money to Phase I instead of Phase II,” Browning said. “We want to put ourselves in a position where we can do a better job on Phase I and not have to make improvements for another 20 years.”