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Town pleased with first phase of treatment plan

The first phase of Jonesborough’s new wastewater treatment plant was completed three weeks ago, and the second phase is under way.
Director of Environmental Services Hugh Thomason said the new treatment plant has been a long time coming, with plans and designs dating back to 2009.
“We will be able to meet our state permit and keep the environment clean, and it will allow for expansion and growth in the Town of Jonesborough,” Thomason said of the new plant.
The new facility will allow the town to treat up to 1 million gallons of water a day, according to Thomason, who said the plant has new headworks, a grit-and-grease removal system, as well as a bar system that removes debris such as paper and plastic from the water.
“There are always hiccups, always things that you didn’t expect, but things are running fairly smoothly,” Thomason said.
Town Administrator Bob Browning said the quality of the effluent — the treated wastewater that flows out of the plant — is excellent.
He said the old plant, which is still operable, has a treatment capacity of 500,000 gallons per day. Currently the discharge, which is permitted by the state, goes into Little Limestone Creek.
Browning said the state determined it did not want to discharge the additional flow into that creek anymore, which put the town in the position of evaluating what to do next.
Town officials determined that the Nolichucky River — a much larger receiving stream — was the answer.
Browning said the town received a permit from the state to discharge into the Nolichucky River, the second phase of the project.
That phase includes the construction of an outfall line to the river, which is approximately 6.5 miles long.
“This is treated water out of the treatment plant,” Browning said.
According to the town administrators report, the effluent forcemain line from Taylor Bridge Road to the aeration value, which is a mechanism that makes sure dissolved oxygen is in the flow of the wastewater to the river, is constructed. The effluent forcemain line, Browning said, takes pumped wastewater from the treatment plant to the river. A portion of the effluent forcemain line, which can be built in sections, was built approximately 1,500 to 2,000 feet from the river.
Thomason said the line follows farmland off Taylor Bridge Road on several country roads.
The construction of an effluent pump station is also under way. The station will pump treated water down the outfall line to the Nolichucky River.
Browning said that by mid-summer 2014, the outfall line should be operable and the town can stop pumping water into Little Limestone Creek.
“In the summer, we will be able to go to the new outfall line,” Browning said.
There is another component of the second phase — the connection of the existing Schreiber basins to the new oxidation ditches. Pipes are being installed between the basins, so the town can move waste flows back and forth.
He expressed that it was important that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen developed the resources to do this project because they have established a treatment capacity that will last for the next 30 years.
“They have established the capability of serving growth in our community for at least three decades to come,” Browning said. “It’s very progressive from the standpoint that when interest rates are low and the construction process can be few and in-between, they built the capacity for the long range. They saved the town hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future.”