As of June, the number of households and businesses served by the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority were:
* Soddy-Daisy: 1,159
* Red Bank: 5,281
* East Ridge: 10,918
* Ridgeside: 158
* Lakesite: 77
* Signal Mountain: 1,169
* Lookout Mountain: 840
* Walden: 35
* Unincorporated area: 5,585
* Georgia: 540
Hamilton County’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority has a handful of customers in Georgia and soon may add customers in Meigs and Bradley counties in Tennessee. But the agency is not planning to expand farther outside Hamilton County, according to WWTA chairman Henry Hoss.
“I would consider (Hamilton County) to be our only focus,” Mr. Hoss said.
Several Hamilton County commissioners have questioned why the authority, which the commission formed in 1993 to handle sewers locally, would have customers in other counties.
“A lot of people in this county don’t have sewers in front of them, but, you know, we have 500-plus people in Georgia,” Commissioner John Allen Brooks said. “We’re going to have sewers in Meigs County, and the people in between, a lot of them don’t have sewers. I think these are questions that should be answered.”
But Mr. Hoss said the authority simply is responding to the demands of residents and officials in Hamilton County.
The authority’s charter does not expressly prohibit expansion outside Hamilton County, though it does say the authority was formed “for the purpose of advancing the economic development to the county.”
The number of Georgia customers shown in documents the authority provided to commissioners is somewhat inflated, Mr. Hoss said.
About 200 of the customers in Georgia are on sewers owned by Ringgold, Mr. Hoss said. The reason the authority counted those households and businesses is that their sewers flow into a WWTA pumping station just across the state line.
But the authority does own some sewer lines in Georgia, Mr. Hoss said.
“We did pick up a few customers in Georgia as a result of taking over the East Ridge system,” he said.
Likewise, Mr. Hoss said the authority has sought to take over the sewers in Lookout Mountain, Ga., because the authority serves the Tennessee side of Lookout Mountain. He said Lookout Mountain, Ga., officials did not respond to the offer.
The authority does not have any customers in Meigs County, Mr. Hoss said, but soon may if the authority builds a proposed sewage treatment plant at the Rarity Rivers development just off state Highway 60 in Meigs County. He said the authority had to ask Meigs County officials for permission to go into the county.
“Rarity is giving us the land,” Mr. Hoss said.
Lacey Smithson, a spokeswoman for Maryville, Tenn.-based Rarity Communities, confirmed that the company has given “land and monetary assistance” to the authority.
“The reason for doing so is that we would have to have our own plant for Rarity Rivers, and this way we are providing the utility company with the resources to build one that will benefit not only Rarity Rivers, but the area as a whole,” she said.
The authority has applied to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for a permit to build the plant, according to department spokeswoman Meg Lockhart.
“The location of the facility would be in Meigs County, just north of the Hamilton County line, but will service parts of Meigs County, a part of northern Hamilton County, and potentially part of Bradley County,” Ms. Lockhart said.
She said the permit is under review.
According to Mr. Hoss, the plant, which would have a maximum daily flow of about 4 million gallons, would open up areas in Hamilton County north of Wolftever Creek for sewer service. That area may have quick development once the new Volkswagen plant begins production in 2011, officials have said.
The Moccasin Bend Treatment Plant, which takes in wastewater from most of Hamilton County, has a peak capacity of 220 million gallons per day, according to Chattanooga’s Web site. The plant processes an average of about 70 million gallons per day.
Authority officials have expressed interest in a low-interest state loan for the Meigs County treatment plant, but the loan process is in the preliminary stages, Ms. Lockhart said.