- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SNEEDVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has fined a northeast Tennessee city nearly $101,000 for dumping raw sewage in the Clinch River.

The Kingsport Times News (https://bit.ly/1pq0Pwn) cited a TDEC order this month in reporting that the Sneedville sewer treatment plant had “excessive” sewer plant bypasses of treatment between January and May.

Sneedville Mayor Dean Rhea said the sewer plant operator resigned in May and the city contracted in June with a Kentucky company called Wastewater Specialists, which is providing a certified plant operator and making repairs to the system.

“The plant’s probably 35-plus years old and we’ve spent $3 or $4 million on line rehabs,” Mayor Rhea said. “A lot of these old lines were clay tile, and we’ve had some deficiencies. If we had a real severe rain, the plant couldn’t accommodate it. The pipes had a lot of infiltration, and of course that’s more water coming into the plant than it could process.”

Rhea said he hopes the state might waive part of the city’s fine in light of the recent repairs.

“If we sat idle and did nothing, then they should certainly level that entire fine,” Rhea said. “Our system was outdated, and we knew that, but our specialists out of Kentucky have replaced a lot of things. The surge basins couldn’t accommodate what was coming through these old brittle, broken lines - and in saying that, about 90 percent of them have been replaced.”

Sneedville is the seat of Hancock County, which the newspaper says is the poorest county in Tennessee.

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Information from: Kingsport Times-News, https://www.timesnews.net


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