M’boro studies ways to lift moratorium

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2005

MURFREESBORO – Lifting the sewer moratorium may be but steps away.

That’s what Town Engineer Robert Graham of George Finch/Boney and Associates told Murfreesboro Mayor Ben McLean during a town council meeting here Tuesday.

Despite updated cost estimates reflecting an increase of $350,000 needed to reline 700,000 square feet of existing lagoons, Graham encouraged the town that plans to expand its Wastewater Treatment Plant could likely be executed in stages and thereby result in relief from stipulations hindering the town’s building progress.

&uot;We’re getting into building season, but people aren’t doing anything because of the moratorium,&uot; said Murfreesboro Council member Billy Theodorakis.

Graham recommended seeking funds from other sources to help defray additional costs associated with the project and asked council to consider placing priority on the construction of a new third lagoon to process its wastewater, while renovations and improvements are being done to existing structures.

&uot;According to regulations, ammonia readings aren’t supposed to be above zero, but due to the age of the existing lagoons, you are experiencing some leakage, causing ammonia readings to register in excess of 30 mg per liter,&uot; Graham said.

Graham suggested relining the lagoons one at a time, but projected the completion of both simultaneously if the work could be performed during a &uot;dry time.&uot;

Presently, $400,000 in grant money from the Rural Center in being held on the town’s behalf for the project.

&uot;We should be sending the grant agreement off in a couple of weeks,&uot; Graham said. &uot;I don’t see any reason why the town couldn’t do this is stages as long as the final date of completion is the same,&uot; he said.

He also suggested that council find out more about State Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG), which could provide up to 55 percent of funds for a particular project and mentioned the possibility of securing money through the Clean Water Management Trust Fund.

Depending on other available grant money, there is a chance that Murfreesboro residents could see an increase in their monthly sewer fees.