Jasper board approves new sewer use ordinance and enforcement plan

JASPER, Tenn. - Revisions to Jasper's sewer use ordinance have been ongoing for almost three years, but now the state has approved the town's plan to move forward.

At the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen's November meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 391 on first reading and a companion enforcement policy for it.

Gary Cosby, an engineer with Chattanooga-based CTI Engineers Inc., said changes in some federal regulations several years ago prompted the need to update Jasper's sewer ordinance.

"It takes a while because everything that's done has to go through the state to obtain their approval, and there's an iterative process to do that," he said. "It had been a while since this ordinance had be updated, so it needed it."

The changes - which mostly apply to business and industry concerning discharge into the sewer system of substances like fats, oils and grease - were initially approved by the state in the spring.

The matter was put out for public comment this summer.

The plan then went back to the state for final approval, and Mayor Paul Evans said the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation gave its final approval on Nov. 1.

"This has been an ongoing issue for a while," he said.

The enforcement plan for the ordinance is a policy that must be adopted by city leaders, too, in conjunction with Jasper's wastewater pretreatment program.

Cosby said that enforcement plan is "primarily aimed at industrial-type users."

The policy includes "uniform procedures" for how city leaders would enforce the ordinance, Cosby said.

"It has an escalating series of enforcement actions," he said. "It goes from a simple phone call or notice of violation all the way up to civil penalty and disconnection of service. Those are all spelled out in that plan."

Evans said the ordinance would require a public hearing and second and final reading at the board's next meeting on Dec. 10.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com