The new sewer plant in Monteagle, Tenn., is back in operation after a malfunction Sept. 18 caused the facility's basement to flood with 4 feet of wastewater.
Mayor Marilyn Campbell Nixon said Friday that officials still are trying to figure out what went wrong to flood the room where much of the plant's electronic equipment is housed.
Nixon said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials said there was no fault on the operator's part, but engineers still are testing systems to find out what happened.
"We still don't know what caused it to back up, and it may take us several weeks to get to that point," she said.
The mayor said damage estimates won't be known until all systems are tested.
TDEC spokeswoman Meg Lockhart said state officials believe "the pump stations within the collection system functioned properly and there were no overflows at the two pump stations or from manholes within the collection system."
Those facts indicate the problem was not caused by infiltration or inflow of stormwater, Lockhart said. It was just such infiltration that was responsible for the town being under a sewer moratorium, which was lifted on Aug. 7 with the opening of the new plant, she said.
"There are corrective actions under way on the floor drain plumbing in the basement of the treatment plant to ensure that the basement never floods again with sewage," she said.
She said it's important to note that the assessment is ongoing and a cause still is being sought.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...