Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Happening Now

Cookeville Water Quality Control Department Renews Letters Of Engagement

Cookeville’s Water Quality Control Department renewed its engagement letter for legal representation in two matters.

Director Barry Turner said one matter centers on a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and appeal. He said there have been questions about the legality of the treatment process known as “blending.”

“The way our treatment plant was built, we have two treatment trains that when we get high flows we can divert some flow and give it some treatment and the other portion gets full treatment,” Turner said. “We blend those back together before we discharge to the creek and we meet permit limits when we discharge.”

Turner said federal courts have ruled this practice legal as long as the treatment meets permit limits, but that some jurisdictions disagree and view the practice as unlawful, hence the city’s appeal for some language in its permit. He said he expects the state to push off hearing the appeal because of the federal court ruling, but wanted to hire legal representation just in case.

Turner said the Tennessee Riverkeeper, an environmental organization,  gave a 60-day notice of its intent to sue that had expired. He said the organization had concerns about the city’s overflow.

“We do have some sewer overflows,” Turner said. “Of course, we’re spending a lot of money and doing a lot of work to reduce those overflows, replacing pump stations and doing sewer rehab.”