Niota officials work to get wastewater plant back on track - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Niota officials work to get wastewater plant back on track

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NIOTA, TN (WRCB)  --  Since 1972, the Niota Wastewater Treatment Plant has served the citizens of Niota; however, its longevity also comes with a price.

"Our plant is at least 30 years old. The pumps down here have not been replaced," says Niota City Mayor Lois Preece.

The day after the former plant operator, Jeremy Harvard, resigned in early March two pumps failed, causing 4500 gallons of waste water to overflow.

"Things with age just ware out," says Preece.

The overflow ran into Little Mouse Creek. Preece says testing on the creek water shows no major problems of pollutants.

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation tell Channel 3, pollutants in the creek water were likely broken down and diluted quickly due to a lot of recent rain and colder temperatures.

Preece says the city has hired a consulting firm to act as the interim operator and director. The city has also applied for a Community Block Grant that could help purchase new pumps. The ones in use now are rented.

Preece says the city will also borrow money from the water department, which has a budget surplus, to help keep the plant running smoothly.

"It will need to happen to get us through this crisis," says Preece.  

Area residents are happy to know someone is working on a long term solution.

"These problems have been coming for a good while but they are really working hard," says nearby resident Mintie Willson.

While TDEC officials say the plant is in violation of its NPDES permit, they are working the facility to get it back on track.

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