​SUD Reviews Weather Impact; Approves 41 New Taps

by Leslie Lytle Messenger Staff Writer

“We had quite a few adjustments for water line leaks and an increase in inflow to the sewer system from heavy rain events,” SUD manager Ben Beavers said commenting on the impact of weather on operation at the February meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Sewanee Utility District of Franklin and Marion Counties. The meeting opened with the swearing in of new commissioner Charlie Smith, who will serve a four-year term. The board also reviewed plans to offer leak insurance, approved an application for 41 new water service taps, and authorized the sale of a no-longer serviceable truck and unneeded utility trailer.
“The good news is our recent repairs to the lift stations are holding,” Beavers said. The flow of rainwater into the sewer system “didn’t result in any overflows or bypasses.”
Beavers was also pleased with the results of the recent manhole inspection. “Most of the manholes can be rehabilitated rather than needing replaced, meaning we’ll likely only use 35 percent of the wastewater budget for that project, instead of 80 percent.”
A January cold snap caused most of the reported customer water line leaks. By SUD’s adjustment policy, the customer pays for half of the leaked water and SUD pays for half. SUD is considering offering leak insurance to customers that would pay both the customer’s and SUD’s portion of the leaked water cost.
Beavers estimated the insurance would cost customers $1.50-$1.80 per month. Customers could opt-out of participating in the program. The insurance would only cover leaks between the meter and residence. Additional insurance covering in-house leaks and line repair would be available through the insurer.
Beavers encouraged interested customers to attend the March 28 board meeting. A representative from the insurance company will be on hand to explain the plan and answer questions.
Updating the board on the application for water service to 41 lots in the Cooley’s Rift development, Beavers said granting the request “probably won’t have a huge impact” on SUD’s water resources, since most of the taps would likely service second homes, not permanent residents. Nor did Beavers expect water pressure would be an issue since the development is so close to the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee water tank.
Providing water service to the 41 lots would require extending the water main beyond the current terminal point. “The developer would bear the cost of all infrastructure and improvement needs,” Beavers stressed.
The board approved the application. As in the case of the 2016 sale of 23 taps to the same developer, SUD policy requires the developer to pay all tap fees and an 8 percent inspection and administrative fee when the contract is signed.
The board also approved Beavers request to offer for sale a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado 4x4 and a 10,000 pound capacity utility trailer. “The front end is shot on the truck,” Beavers explained, and SUD no longer needs the trailer since SUD purchased a more robust trailer to transport the excavator.
Beavers will advertise sale of the two surplus items and post a bid sheet in the office. There is no minimum bid requirement. Bidding is open to the public.
Reporting on the Midway pressure boosting station construction, Beavers said SUD had received the pumps and the rest of the components “should arrive any day.” The station will increase downstream pressure to 58 psi, with the pumps capable of delivering 300 gallons per minute—a plus for firefighting or in the event SUD should need to supply water to Monteagle.