All the sewers within the city of Chattanooga's urban growth boundary -- even the ones not in the city limits -- now are the city's responsibility.
On Wednesday, the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority voted to give the city all the authority's sewers within the growth boundary.
"If the city of Chattanooga wants it, let them step up to the plate and sewer the whole thing," said Bob Privett, who represents Soddy-Daisy on the authority's board.
Authority attorney Mike Carter said the vote makes the city responsible for all of the authority's sewers within the Chattanooga growth boundary, set in Hamilton County's 2001 urban growth plan. The Chattanooga City Council has voted to annex some of those areas.
The city must build sewers in the areas it has annexed within three years, but it is not required to build sewers outside the annexed areas within any set time, he said.
Mayor Ron Littlefield said Wednesday the move by WWTA was expected and the city would be "prepared to deal with it."
"It sounds like a move in the right direction," he said. "We can certainly maintain those areas."
He said he still needs to talk to Phil Smartt, the WWTA board chairman, and Mr. Carter to determine exactly what the authority means when it says it will cede all of its services within the boundary.
The city has planned for a consolidation of services, including utilities, he said, and this will just be another step in that process.
Mr. Carter said officials have estimated the authority's assets within the urban growth boundary to be worth about $23.5 million.
The city would be required to take on any remaining debt on those assets, Mr. Carter said. He was not certain how much debt remains, he said, but it will be substantial.