Ocoee Utility set to seek HCI grant
by By JOYANNA WEBER Banner Staff Writer
Jun 11, 2013 | 799 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Ocoee Utility District will pursue a Bradley County Healthy Community Initiative grant to help fund connecting homeowners on Highway 64 (Waterlevel Highway) to a new sewer line.

Tim Lawson of Ocoee Utility District and 4th District resident Howard Thompson, a former county commissioner, addressed the Bradley County Commission Monday asking for funding to connect residents to the line.

Implementing a sewer line would eliminate septic tank issues for the residents, Thompson said.

The utility already has the funds, part of which have been secured with the state, to convert an old water line into a sewage line.

“We have a unique opportunity because we’ve replaced a 6-inch water line with a 12-inch water main,” Lawson said. “This 6-inch water line is still in great shape. We have a process where we are going to test it and evaluate it and turn it into a sewer main in the next year.”

Converting the line will cost the utility $400,000, according to Lawson.

He said it will be a pressured system.

“There will be a pump at each home and we will maintain that system,” Lawson said.

Ocoee Utility District charges homeowners $3,700 to connect residents’ home pipes to the public sewer line. The utility is pursuing funding to help offset this cost for residents.

There would be a monthly charge based on water usage for use of the system. A similar system is already being used by a subdivision on Old Parksville Road.

Thompson asked county commissioners to use some HCI funding, typically used to extend water lines to replace dried up wells, for the project.

Bradley County Commission Chairman Louie Alford said the utility district would have to fill out a grant application.

Fourth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said he would be willing to work with Lawson on a grant application for the upcoming HCI grant.

Ocoee Utilities hopes to start by connecting 100 residents to the line once it is completed.

The system will store solid waste in a tank that will be maintained by the utility district. The wastewater will be pumped out to the sewer line.

Lawson said plans are underway to build a larger waste treatment plant that would further improve the service.

Also during the meeting, the Commission heard an update on the Bradley County UT Extension Cannery.

A recent addition to the facility and connecting to the city sewer system have delayed the opening of the facility this year.

First District Commissioner Terry Caywood said he had received calls from county residents asking about the cannery’s scheduled opening date.

UT Extension county director Kim Frady said the facility will be connected to the city sewer system June 18.

A grand opening celebration of the updated facility has been set for June 29. Frady said the cannery might be open before then, but this would be the official opening.

The cannery has also had some paving done to improve access to the facility.

“We are about six weeks behind ... in gardening stuff, so hopefully we will be up before green beans and tomatoes, and then they can do salsa and all the other things,” Frady said.

The Bradley County Cannery is located on Peerless Road at the recycling center.

Frady said the Extension office is looking at possibly hiring an agent through Tennessee State University funding.