published Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Cleveland Utilities reviews projects

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland Utilities eventually may recover all but $800,000 of its $2.7 million in accumulated costs linked to last year's devastating storms, according to a report from finance division Vice President Ken Webb.

A major concern for the utility is Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement for costs associated with the April 27, 2011, storms, Webb said.

"The process has been lengthy, but we are very fortunate that there are some funds out there to cover some of the costs," he said.

Officials are evaluating key initiatives of the financial, electric and water divisions of Cleveland Utilities as it enters into the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year.

In a recent meeting, utility board members reviewed the status of work in progress with Cleveland Utilities division heads.

A little more than $2.2 million of the total storm-related costs are eligible for reimbursement, of which FEMA is expected to cover 75 percent, while the state will contribute another 12.5 percent.

Webb said he expects Cleveland Utilities to receive a little more than $1.25 million in reimbursement next month. The balance of the reimbursement -- about $678,000 -- will not occur until FEMA inspectors review the utility's recovery work.

It will be some time before FEMA inspectors can audit Cleveland Utilities' storm-related work, Webb said, since inspectors just now are assessing recovery work associated with the 2010 floods in Nashville.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS

Bart Borden, vice president of the utility's electric division, and Craig Mullinax, vice president of the water division, discussed major accomplishments of their departments.

The completion of the Chatata Creek substation in December was a testament to the work of Cleveland Utilities' engineers, said Borden, who praised the site's "unique design."

The substation, which is intended to serve the new Whirlpool facility and residences in the Benton Pike area, was built to minimize power losses and make recovery operations more efficient.

"In essence, we have two substations at one location," Borden said.

The station also uses a segmented concrete trench system for its network of underground cables, said Borden, facilitating easier access for maintenance and repairs.

Another milestone for Cleveland Utilities was the launch of a long-range initiative to rehabilitate its sewer system, Mullinax said. The program encompasses a 10-year plan to significantly reduce storm water leaks into the wastewater network.

The initial phase of the rehabilitation program has been focused on southern Bradley County, within a zone bordered by Chattanooga Pike, Varnell Road and Blackburn Road.

The area -- described as Basin 31-45 on Cleveland Utilities maps -- is responsible for nearly 23 percent of the wastewater network's infiltration problems, according to a report previously presented by Littlejohn Engineering.

Detection efforts, which included closed-circuit camera work, manual inspections and nontoxic smoke tests, have been completed, Mullinax said. Officials are determining which portions of the basin's 37 miles of pipe will receive repairs and replacements.

Mullinax said the next phase of wastewater line rehabilitation will take place in Basin 10-36, located between Interstate 75 and Keith Street.

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