published Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Ocoee Utility eyes sewer line service for Highway 64 area

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    Tim Lawson, general manager of Ocoee Utilities District

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Ocoee Utility District has a "unique opportunity" to offer sewer line service to the U.S. Highway 64 area of Bradley County, utility general manager Tim Lawson said.

In a recent presentation to Bradley County commissioners, Lawson said that a project to upgrade the size of several miles of waterline will present the chance to convert the old waterline for sewer use. Lawson said he would like the county to provide $380,000 in grant funding through its Healthy Community Initiative to help offset $3,700 homeowner tap fees.

The proposed project area includes U.S. 64 between Hollow Road and the Polk County line, Hollow Road, Hidden Forest Drive and a portion of Old Parksville Road.

"This effort is in response to requests and concerns from property owners, developers, surveyors and local business recruiters regarding their concerns with the limitations of the ground in the area and ever more stringent septic rules," Lawson said in his proposal.

The utility initially will invest $400,000 in the sewer treatment system, which has a capacity of 100 homes, he said. Using converted water line is estimated to save two-thirds of the cost of using new materials.

When completed, the project is expected to serve more than 1,200 homes, according to Lawson. Studies are under way on providing sewer services to the south, encompassing several miles of Springplace Road.

The sewer system will utilize a low-pressure force main that requires each home service to use a tank and pump. As the utility's treatment capacity grows, these may no longer be needed.

The requested $380,000 exceeds the amount of Healthy Communities funding generally available in one year, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said. Total HCI funds awarded in a given cycle usually amount to no more than one-third of the utility's request, he said.

"We asked for two dollars, hoping for one," said Howard Thompson, a former 4th District county commissioner who accompanied Lawson during his presentation.

Commissioners agreed, however, that the project fell within the parameters of the initiative's goal of providing benefits to the health, wellness and quality of life for the community.

The HCI Committee will review grant applications this fall and make recommendations to the Bradley County Commission. Grants will be awarded in January.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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