published Monday, February 6th, 2012

Frustrated Kimball, TN, leaders approve sewer project

Ryan Lewis/Correspondent

KIMBALL, Tenn. -- When the word "sewer" appears on the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen's monthly meeting agenda, it's rarely good news.

On Thursday, the news was bad once again.

"We can't seem to go a meeting without discussing some type of sewer issue, and we've got one that's about to be pretty severe," Mayor David Jackson said.

Officials said a pipe leading into the town's main sewer pump station is on the brink of failure and to complete a minimal repair will cost an estimated $9,438.

Alderman Mark Payne said the condition of the pipe is as bad as he's ever seen.

"Everything that's below the waterline is still relatively OK, but everything that's above the waterline where the gases can actually attack it, it's just eaten up," he said. "Rust holding hands isn't the word for it. It's a mess."

The board voted unanimously to make the minimum repair needed, but it cannot exceed the estimated cost.

There will be an additional, separate cost of approximately $300 for excavation around the repair site, Payne said.

The situation is made worse because a new hotel is planned to be built near the site, which would cause the entire main pump station to be reconstructed.

"I just hate to spend that much money on something they're going to be tearing down," Vice Mayor Rex Pesnell said.

Even if the hotel construction started this week, it would be six more months before the pump station construction was addressed, Payne said.

"This thing isn't going to make it that long," he said.

"If we don't fix this, it's going to cost us a lot more money down the road," Alderman Johnny Sisk said. "I'd rather spend the $9,400 now than take a chance of paying more then."

If the pump station fails, the cost would be astronomical compared to the estimated fix, Payne said.

"I don't want to spend the money, but I also don't want to get in the position where we get caught in an emergency," he said.

Maintenance Department Supervisor Mike Nelson that if the pump station were to fail, trucks would be required to pump out the sewer each day and haul the waste to South Pittsburg's treatment plant about four miles away.

Payne said having four trucks to pump the sewer would cost Kimball $430,000 per month "and it still wouldn't be fixed."

"I hate to spend the money," Jackson said. "I don't want to have to spend it, but I don't think there's anything else we can do. We can't jeopardize the businesses in the town."

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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