Officials: New Harrison sewage plant a better deal than upgrading North Ooltewah system

Mark Harrison, executive director of the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA), sits in his office Tuesday and looks over a draft study of the proposed new WWTA sewage treatment plant.

An estimated price tag of $45 million to $48 million might sound like a lot for a new sewage treatment plant in Harrison.

Or not - if you figure the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority will have to spend about $43 million, anyway.

That's the estimated cost - if a new WWTA sewage plant isn't built - to add storage tanks and make other upgrades to the authority's existing system in North Ooltewah along with fees WWTA would have to pay over the next 20 years to use the city of Chattanooga's Moccasin Bend treatment plant.

Those are some arguments for a new sewage plant made by county Mayor Jim Coppinger and WWTA Executive Director Mark Harrison.

"The [new plant's] immediate impact would meet the projected need for an additional 10,000 homes by year 2021," Coppinger said Tuesday morning on the steps of the county courthouse downtown, as part of an announcement of a proposed package of spending on sewage treatment, schools and a new jail to be bankrolled by maintaining the current county millage rate.