Monteagle City Council Studies Sewer Capacity

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Feb. 11 special called meeting, the Monteagle City Council approved a $43,525 study to determine the town’s sewer capacity with emphasis on flow from the outlying area east of town and flow from the Interstate 24 Exit 135 area. A tiny homes community northeast of Monteagle has increased the city’s sewer demands, with further increases expected. RBT Enterprises has proposed constructing a 20-acre Travel Center catering to truck drivers at Exit 135.

City engineer Travis Wilson’s initial proposal to the board called for four flow meters and a pump station evaluation at Exit 135, cost $28,800. The four flow meters will enable a determination of the city’s sewer capacity and the inflow and infiltration (I&I) into the system (i.e., rain water entering the sewer through defects). The four meters would cover the 80 percent of the system with highest demand. The pump station evaluation would determine the operating efficiency of the Exit 135 station and the remaining capacity, given the current load.

Wilson also recommended flow isolation monitoring to determine the location of the I&I, cost $4,200, and a pump station meter at Exit 135, cost $3,000. The flow isolation would show where I&I is occurring to facilitate repair. Rain water entering the sewer system puts a strain on the sewer treatment plant, Wilson explained. A pump station meter at Exit 135 would determine how often the pump cycled on, giving a gauge of how hard the pump was working.

Alderman Alvin Powell asked how dry or wet weather during the 45-day study would affect the assessment.

“This is great time of the year to do it,” Wilson said. “I want to see what your peak flows are when it rains…Worst case scenario, if you put some kind of development in at Exit 135 and it’s coming a monsoon and you get 6 inches of rain, what is that going to do to your sewer system?” Wilson noted the city already had average I&I data from historical records.

Mayor Marilyn Campbell Rodman pointed out there was not a flow meter proposed for the Tracy City side of town where the tiny-homes development was occurring. “At a later date, we could check [that] as well, right?”

“It’s cheaper to do it while they’re doing all this, to add one more meter,” Wilson said. The additional cost would be $2,025 (installation plus the $45 per day meter fee).

“I think we need to do it all at once,” said utilities manager John Condra.

After discussion, the council decided to include an additional flow meter and to do a pump station evaluation for the main station, which handles the flow from the outlying area east of town, cost $4,000.

On Wilson’s advice, the city will subcontract for the equipment rental and data collection, a more economical option for a town the size of Monteagle.

Wilson predicted installation would begin the next day. Data analysis would take 30 days after completion of the 45-day study. Wilson said, however, he could provide a preliminary analysis at the March 29 council meeting.

“You could present to us that, without repairs or replacements, the capacity was not there…or that the capacity is there?” Rodman asked.

“Correct,” Wilson said.