Neighbors weigh options to stop sewer plant

The Fire Department Training Center in Ooltewah, Tennessee, is completely full of residents who do not want a sewer plant built in their community during a Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority public meeting held Thursday, October 11, 2018. The room was filled from wall to wall with chairs, and individuals were peeking in from all doors to listen to what was happening during the meeting.

A couple of hundred homeowners gathered Thursday night to start planning their counteroffensive against a planned sewage treatment plant on Mahan Gap Road.

The sanctuary of Meadowview Baptist Church was full and a few people leaned against the walls while Brent Smith, of North Heron Bay, and Dean Morehouse, whose property adjoins the proposed plant site, briefed them on steps so far and on what needs to happen next.

Many in the crowd had attended public hearings by the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, which says the $45 million plant would provide needed treatment capacity for the rapidly growing northeast portion of Hamilton County.

Furious homeowners in the North Ooltewah area don't dispute the need for the plant but want it placed somewhere other than their communities. Many spoke heatedly at public meetings about their fears of health impacts, wetlands contamination, sewer stink and loss of value in their most important investments, their homes.