Water authority plans $11.3 million sewer upgrade in Decherd, Tenn.

Water authority plans $11.3 million sewer upgrade in Decherd, Tenn.

August 11th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Employees assemble Nissan Altima and Frontier 4-cylinder engines at the Decherd, Tenn., plant.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

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The city of Decherd will soon launch its biggest capital project to upgrade and expand the capacity of its sewer system needed to keep pace with the growth of Nissan and other businesses in Franklin County.

Decherd's municipal water authority plans to begin building a new $11.3 million water treatment facility on Wagner Creek to more than double the sewage treatment capacity to 2.65 million gallons per day.

"With the continued expansion of our Nissan engine plant and other industry coming to town, we've got to expand our sewage capacity," Decherd Mayor Robin Smith said Thursday. "Nissan has been a great addition to our community, and it is attracting a lot of spinoff jobs so we need to expand our infrastructure."

Since 1997, Nissan's powertrain plant in Decherd, Tenn. has expanded its engine production for both Nissan and Infiniti vehicles built at assembly plants in both Smyrna, Tenn., and Canton, Miss. Over the past 25 years, Nissan has invested $1 billion in Decherd and continues to expand its operations, Nissan communications manager Parul Bajaj said.

"With the completion of the $319 million Infiniti Decherd Powertrain Plant and ongoing growth at the Nissan Decherd Powertrain Plant, total jobs at those two facilities has reached approximately 1,900," he said. "This is up from approximately 1,200 jobs just five years ago."

Eric Bradford, superintendent of Decherd Water Department, said the city is under a regulatory order to upgrade its 32-year-old sewage treatment plant to meet the growing demand for water treatment.

Aided by federal and state grants and low-interest loans, Bradford said work on the new treatment basins should begin before the end of the year. The sewer project will likely take about 12 to 18 months to install the biological nutrient removal process and filtration equipment.

"This will be the first sequencing batch reactor treatment plant of its kind in the state of Tennessee," Bradford said.

The sewer plant is being financed with a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant of $1 million, a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant and a USDA Rural Development grant of $1.5 million and a low-interest loan of $5 million. The city also has applied for a fast grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

"We've been working on this for nearly two years," Smith said.

Decherd's water department serves about 1,700 water customers and about 1,100 sewer customers.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who announced the $1 million EDA grants for Decherd's new sewer plant this week, said the upgraded water treatment facility "will support the growth of local businesses" and was identified as key to adding another $115 million of investment and at least 50 more jobs in Decherd.

"The Trump Administration is committed to accelerating economic growth and developing American infrastructure," Ross said in a statement.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.