Angry homeowners, WWTA each set separate meetings on proposed Ooltewah sewage plant

People line up to get into the meeting on a proposed North Ooltewah sewage treatment plant. (Photo contributed by Hugo Winterhalter)

Hamilton County's sewer treatment authority will hold another public meeting Tuesday evening on its plan to build a new sewage treatment plant in on Mahan Gap Road.

Meanwhile, furious local homeowners and community members are holding a meeting of their own Thursday night to begin planning their opposition to the proposed plant.

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority wants to build a $45 million wastewater treatment plant to open up the northern parts of the county for development without having to use Chattanooga's Moccasin Bend plant.

The money is included in a bond issue funded from a property tax increase passed last year by the Hamilton County Commission. But in early October, commissioners confronted by angry homeowners voted against advancing the WWTA $3 million to buy the property for the new plant.

The proposed site - 157 acres near Long Savannah Creek - has touched off a firestorm of protest from local homeowners worried about health, safety, smells and property values, as well as impacts on wildlife and wetlands.

Hundreds of people packed the WWTA's first public input session at the Highway 58 fire training hall on Oct. 11, shouting down the authority's explanations and demanding a different location.

The WWTA's engineers say the Mahan Gap site is the most efficient and least costly because it needs less land grading and can make the most use of gravity sewers rather than expensive pumps.

This week's WWTA meeting is set for 5:30-7 p.m. in the Central High School gym on Highway 58. Another meeting will be held at the same place and time on Nov. 8.

The opposition, which has a Facebook page called No Ooltewah Sewage Treatment Plant, will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at Meadowview Baptist Church, 10715 Ooltewah-Georgetown Road.