- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A plan to dump millions of gallons of treated wastewater from the Memphis Regional Megasite into the Hatchie River has been withdrawn after a public outcry.

Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd said Thursday that officials don’t believe the wastewater discharge would have hurt the river, but they realized the planned water treatment plant was oversized.

WNWS-FM reported Wednesday (https://bit.ly/1NlXSgm) that the Brownsville Energy Authority had withdrawn its application to handle the wastewater after Economic and Community Development officials said they were looking at alternatives.

Boyd declined to say exactly what those alternatives are, but he said they are more efficient, less expensive, more flexible and environmentally friendly.

“I’m pretty confident all the stakeholders are going to be very happy,” he said.

The Tennessee Clean Water Network praised the move. In a Thursday news release, director Renee Hoyos said the Hatchie is “a State Scenic River and Exceptional Tennessee Water that can’t tolerate any increase in pollution from a direct discharge.”

Boyd said he hopes the change will not affect the development timetable at the 4,100-acre site that is expected to bring new jobs to West Tennessee. Apart from the wastewater, most everything should be ready within about 18 months, he said.

The site was originally planned to house only one company, but Boyd said the plan now is to market it in smaller pieces to several companies.

“It’s going to be easier to find companies that need 100 or 200 acres,” he said. “And that way we can build the site up gradually.”

He said that would also have the advantage of creating a more diverse economy.

Boyd said he has a list of prospects around the world that he hopes to recruit for the site. He plans to begin marketing it in the next 30 days.


Information from: WNWS-FM, https://www.wnws.com/

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