The Gainesboro Mayor and Board of Aldermen are leaning towards constructing a new water treatment plant as opposed to upgrading the current facility.
Engineer Nathaniel Green presented preliminary plans Thursday. A new facility would cost some $10.5 million, while upgrading the current plant would cost $8 to $9 million. Green asked for preliminary approval in order that he could start the approval process with TDEC and the Army Corp of Engineers.
The Board of Aldermen decided to postpone a decision to review the contract. Mayor Lloyd Williams said before making a decision, he would like to consult Alderman Travis Agee, who was absent.
“If you’re asking me tonight on if I am ready to sign an agreement to go ahead and start ahead and doing this,” Williams said. “I would like to think about it. I want to do it, but I don’t want to obligate us and then change our minds on it.”
Alderman Ricky Head said considering the price difference, it would be better to move forward with a new plant.
“I get that it’s a lot of money, but you’re already spending eight million or 10 million,” Head said. “In my eyes, what is another 1.7 to go new or remodel your old. It’s kind of like of fixing up an old car or house. You fix up an old house but it is still an old house.”
If approved, Green said the first step for the town would be consulting with the state to see how much water could be withdrawn. Green said he recommended constructing a facility capable of serving 1.5 million gallons per day.
“The site I’m looking at is right beside the wastewater treatment plant,” Green said. “I drove over there and looked at it. I do believe it is doable. It’s really not that for from the existing water treatment plant, so tying it back in would not be that hard. It’s actually not that far from the intake location.”
As for funding options, Green said the town could apply for a state revolving loan by the end of the year.
“I’m told there is not going to be many strings attached to it, and it’s going to go to communities in need first and people that have projects that are ready to go,” Green said. “That’s the direction I was going to push it in.”
Green said a water and sewer rate increase of about 16 percent would also likely be required to afford the depreciation costs.
The current water treatment plant exceeded its some 700,000 gallon per day limit once last year and regularly exceeds 80 percent capacity. Green said the state requires a capacity upgrade at that point.
Green said if the schedule holds up, the treatment plant could be completed by the end of 2025.