The maximum score a public utility can receive is 100.
The state division conducting the two-day analysis is part of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation.
In the Dec. 20-21 survey, TDEC inspectors found only a handful of deficiencies — primarily plant maintenance items such as painting, all of which were already on CU’s radar for the coming year and beyond; as well as providing “blow-offs” on all dead-end mains and at all low points in water mains. Blow-offs, or other forms of suitable flushing mechanisms, are capable of producing velocities adequate to flush the main.
Inspectors were unable to locate all the blow-offs because some were buried underground or their exact locations were unknown. The inspection summary acknowledged CU is already working to either locate the blow-offs or relocate the dead-end mains and install blow-offs at these dead-ends in the future.
Several of the minor maintenance deficiencies — primarily the painting — were already in the bid preparation stages as reported in the December session of the Cleveland Utilities Board. Craig Mullinax, manager of the CU Water Division, detailed then the various projects that are already being bid.
CU Water Division’s score of 99 is considered especially favorable because of the inspection’s depth. During their visit, inspectors evaluated eight different tasks; within each of these categories are 53 areas that were reviewed by TDEC personnel.
“TDEC’s deductions were for maintenance items to various distribution tanks and the (filter) plant facility and the installation of flushing assemblies on all dead-end water lines,” Mullinax said. He said CU was already aware of the deficiencies and is operating an “active program” to remedy them.
In a recent January meeting of the Cleveland Utilities Board, Mullinax credited CU Water Division staff for the strong score, as did Dale Hughes, chairman of the CU Board.
“We certainly appreciate these high scores,” Hughes said. “This is a good report and survey.”
Mullinax recognized the division’s staff involvement in earning the positive state findings.
“We are extremely proud of our operational, maintenance and management team that year-in and year-out works hard to produce safe drinking water for our customers,” Mullinax said.
The Water Division manager said he “feels good” about the state inspection. He described it as a reward by TDEC inspectors in appreciation for the CU division’s past, present and future efforts.
In his Water Division report to the board, Mullinax also provided updates on a variety of water and sewer projects including a few of the water tank rehabilitation initiatives that were mentioned in the TDEC water inspection. Some of these were the Cleveland Filter Plant concrete tank painting, $50,000; Eldridge Drive Water Storage Tank rehabilitation, $500,000; and the Johnson Boulevard Water Storage Tank rehabilitation, $250,000.
Other Water Division updates included improvements to sludge handling systems, Dalton Pike utility relocation, Georgetown Road Water Storage Tank and booster pump station ($550,000), Frontage Road water main upgrade, Candies Creek Ridge Road water main upgrade, Emmett Avenue water line replacement, 9th Street sewer line replacement and others.