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Dispute threatens Surgoinsville sewer project

January 13th, 2014 9:11 pm by Jeff Bobo

Dispute threatens Surgoinsville sewer project

SURGOINSVILLE — After three years of planning, Surgoinsville’s $3.5 million sewer project might have to be scrapped if the Hawkins County Board of Education determines the town is in breach of contract.

During Thursday’s BOE meeting, Chairman Randy Collier told the board that changes in the sewer construction plans, which took place after the school system agreed to participate in the project, aren’t addressed in the sewer contract between the town and the school system.

Collier said the BOE contributed $200,000 to Surgoinsville’s sewer project in exchange for gravity sewer lines connected to both Surgoinsville schools, which would replace an aging sewage treatment plant on Surgoinsville’s campus.

The proposed sewer system will connect the Surgoinsville middle and elementary schools to a trunk line that runs east along Main Street through downtown Surgoinsville to the Phipps Bend Industrial Park, where it will connect to Church Hill’s sewer system for treatment.

Although the gravity system was part of the original planning, the Surgoinsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen later discovered that type of system would only allow about 100 customers to be hooked up, which wouldn’t be enough for the system to be financially self-sustaining. 

Plans were then changed to “gray water” removal only, with all customers continuing to maintain their old septic tanks for solids.

As a result, new septic tanks will have to be installed at both Surgoinsville schools.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Tuesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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