Former city manager Joe Cate joins Cleveland Utilities board

Former city manager Joe Cate joins Cleveland Utilities board

January 27th, 2012 by Paul Leach/Correspondent in News

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, left, administers the oaths of office Thursday to Joe Cate, who recently joined the Cleveland Utilities Board. Photo by Paul Leach

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Cleveland Utilities officially has welcomed Joe Cate, a former Cleveland city manager, to its managing board.

On Thursday, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland administered the oath of office to Cate during the board's January meeting.

"Joe's still a good resource when we need something for the city," said Rowland, noting Cate's many years of service to Cleveland.

Cate said he has been involved with the city since the mid-1970s. He said he is retired but recently worked with the Southeast Tennessee Development District.

In other business, Cleveland Utilities is preparing to launch repair and replacement projects to deal with sewer line infiltration problems in southern Bradley County, said Craig Mullinax, manager of the water division.

Infiltration occurs when breaks in pipes or manhole covers allow stormwater to seep into the sewer network. It is both an environmental and economic problem, according to utility officials.

The work area is near APD-40 and is loosely bordered by Chattanooga Pike, Blackburn Road and Varnell Road.

While the basin comprises only 11 percent of the utility's sewer network, it is responsible for nearly 23 percent of its infiltration problems, according to a report prepared by Littlejohn Engineering.

Several months of detection efforts have been in the works, including hands-on inspections, nontoxic smoke tests and closed-circuit television monitoring, Mullinax said. In that time, he said, 838 manholes had been inspected, 34.6 miles of pipes had been smoke-tested and nearly 25 miles of pipes had been monitored by camera.

Cleveland Utilities also has had to revise some plans to update equipment at its Hiwassee River water intake station.

Work on replacement and repairs to the structure's filtering screens had to be renegotiated, according to Mullinax. The original bid proposal for $152,000 only applied to costs for fixing one of the station's filters, not both, the water division manager said. The cost for rehabilitating both of the structure's filters will amount to $284,000, he said.

Mullinax attributed the error to a misunderstanding of the contractor's bid proposal.

Despite the increase in price, the project still is a good deal for Cleveland Utilities, which had budgeted nearly $581,000 to replace the old filters, Wheeler said.

The work, which must be completed by scuba divers, is estimated to prolong the life of the station's screens by 10 or 20 years, he said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at