WHAT $3.2 MILLIONS BUYS
* Installs covers over primary clarifiers
* Installs biotrickling scrubbers to treat foul air
* Installs ducts to draw off foul air from centrifuge buildings one and two
* Relocates one carbon absorber from primaries to centrifuge buildings
Source: Public Works
After spirited debate, the Chattanooga City Council approved a $3.2 million project to clean up the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant in an attempt to curtail sewer stench downtown and in North Chattanooga.
Not all council members were anxious to spend the money, however.
"Let us not think of this as the panacea to cure all that ails us in the downtown area," said Councilwoman Deborah Scott.
"We have to consider our alternatives," agreed Councilman Andraé McGary.
Both opposed the project and suggested other ways to combat the smell such as retrofitting catch basins downtown.
Councilman Jack Benson countered, saying, "We pay our engineers good money, and I think it's a failing on our part not to listen to them."
He then called up Jerry Stewart, director of water resources, and asked him for his credentials and education as an engineer before asking him point blank how the city should invest its money.
Stewart said the proposed project would not only improve air quality but also clean built up corrosion at the plant and make it safer.
Council members still seemed to vote with their noses, though.
"The odor really is an issue," said Councilman Peter Murphy.
Councilwoman Sally Robinson called it "overpowering."
However, Scott remained unmoved, saying that a 2006 study demonstrated that of 172 stench complaints in the city, the plant was responsible for only four.
McGary motioned to postpone the vote until more alternatives could be explored, but the motion failed and the project passed 7-2.
The council also passed a resolution to give the plant no more than $198,608 for "water use and reuse practices." Scott was the sole opposed council member.