Dennis Daniel, manager of the Cleveland Utilities Electric Division, said the discovery has delayed the substation project but he believes crews can get back on track provided the proposed wetlands alternative is approved by the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation.
“The plans for this change have been submitted to TDEC and we are hoping they can complete their approval where we can get back on track with our completion deadline date, which we still anticipate to fall near mid-summer,” Daniel said.
The longtime utility leader gave the substation update during a recent meeting of the Cleveland Utilities Board.
Discovery of the tiny wetlands area came recently when CU met with TDEC representatives at the substation site to review plans and construction design for the project.
“During their visit, we were instructed that we should perform a Wetlands Delineation Study of the site to determine if any part of the area where the sub(station) will be located falls on soil that is considered wetlands,” Daniel explained.
The study included taking detailed soil samples to determine the boundaries for any such wetlands, if one existed.
“As a result of the tests, it was discovered that a small section (.18 of an acre) was indeed considered wetlands type soil,” Daniel said. “This was a setback to our plans which could have caused us a significant delay in mitigating that issue.”
However, CU believes the answer lies in relocating the small piece of wetlands — a common practice in new development but one that is overseen diligently by TDEC, which must grant final approval before work continues.
“Fortunately, we were able to identify an area that could be developed as a wetlands in lieu of the existing site and allow us to build the sub(station) as designed,” Daniel stated. “This area we are considering is the area between our sub site and Benton Pike.”
CU has submitted plans for the wetlands relocation and is awaiting approval.
In other actions related to the new Chatata Creek Substation — one of many industrial development projects currently on CU’s plate — Daniel reported a large portion of the major equipment and materials have now been ordered. Items include two power transformers, 69kv and 13kv breakers, and grounding conductors and connectors.
“The final details for the steel structure and relay control house have now been completed and we are preparing to go out for bids on those items,” Daniel said.
Over the past month, CU engineers met with Whirlpool representatives to discuss details and the power service plan for the new manufacturing facility and warehouse. Daniel said information coming out of that meeting shows the expected electrical demand coming from the plant and warehouse will be from 8 to 10 megawatts.
As has been previously reported, the new substation will service power needs for other areas surrounding the new Whirlpool plant. Its eventual construction was already on CU’s radar but plans for the new manufacturing facility have pushed up the timetable.
Servicing the Whirlpool plant with the new substation is one of only several major electric projects on which the CU division is working.
According to Daniel’s update, others include:
n A work order has been issued for a new office warehouse at 131 Industrial Way S.E. CU will be installing a pad transformer and underground primary cable to construct the development.
n A work order for temporary service to a construction trailer for Lee University’s new 120-bed dormitory has been issued. The new dorm will be located between Maple Street and Magnolia Avenue N.E.
n Temporary and permanent electric service is being prepared for the new Aubrey’s restaurant in Ocoee Crossing. Site preparation by CU crews also led to the discovery of equipment deterioration that Daniel said could have led to an eventual unplanned power outage impacting the immediate area. “During the installations, our line crew noted that a 4-point junction inside one of the cabinets in that area was bad and they were able to replace it (with a planned outage),” Daniel said. “What is significant about that is this junction point could have resulted in a future unplanned outage of not only Aubrey’s, but also at Logan’s and Chic-fil-A.”
n Power needs and new equipment to service the new Wendy’s restaurant on McGrady Drive are now being finalized.
n Lighting design for four ballfields at the new Bradley County Recreation Center on Minnis Road is now under way. Equipment costs will be $393,000. Total cost, including installation, will be known soon.