​SUD to Amp Up Sanitary Survey Inspections

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

The Sewanee Utility District (SUD) plans to perform Sanitary Survey Inspections of all commercial customers to determine if there is a need for a backflow prevention device. The decision followed a review of the Cross Connection Policy at the July 24 meeting. The policy requires backflow prevention devices in any situation where there is a possibility of drinking water contamination by fluid from outside sources.
Commercial circumstances posing potential backflow hazards include drink machines and sprinkler and irrigation systems.
SUD Manager Ben Beavers and another SUD employee recently completed training for certification as backflow testing technicians.
“SUD’s Cross Connection Policy is the same as the model the state uses,” Beavers said. “There’s no rule that commercial accounts are required to have backflow prevention devices, but many municipalities require it.”
The board discussed changing the policy to require backflow devices on all commercial accounts.
“What I recommend is that we start with identifying the need and inspect all commercial accounts before the end of the year,” said board President Charlie Smith
“We can get it done by then,” Beavers said.
The board will consider amending the Cross Connection Policy to require backflow prevention devices for all new commercial accounts and whenever a business changes hands.
Updating the board on the waterline replacement project, Beavers said the contractor Danson Construction expected to begin work on the South Carolina Avenue segment next week.
“There won’t be any impact on homeowners until the contractor crosses the creek at Abbo’s Alley,” Beavers said. Danson predicts it will take two weeks to complete the South Carolina portion of the job. The South Carolina segment will be the potentially most disruptive to the University.
Highly supportive of the project, the University is allowing the contractor to use its lay-down yard for equipment and material storage, and to deposit vegetative debris at its brush dump.
Commenting on operations, Beavers said the heavy rainfall in June made it necessary for the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to spray more water than it was taking in to manage rainfall’s contribution to the lagoons. The Sewanee area received eight inches of rain in June, twice the normal amount.
On the financial side, Beavers said the contingency amount in the budget should pay for the new pump ordered for the WWTP—“I set the budget to pay for one unexpected emergency per year.” Disposable towelettes in the sewer system clogged the pump and rendered it inoperable. SUD hopes to repair the other pumps damaged by the towelettes.
Updating the board on the South Cumberland Regional Drought Plan drafted by SUD and the other area water utilities following the drought of 2007, Beavers said he met recently with the water utility managers to discuss the required review and renewal of the plan. Beavers volunteered to head up the review.
“Basically the drought plan says if one system has an emergency the others will do whatever we can to help them out,” Beavers explained. “It also stipulates if one utility goes to restrictions, the others will go to the same level of restrictions until the emergency is over.”
This has only occurred once since the plan was adopted. Two years ago Monteagle went on voluntary restrictions, and the other utilities did, as well.
The board meets next on Aug. 28.