Tennessee water infrastructure projects awarded $191 million

January 3, 2024

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has directed $191 million in grants to support water infrastructure projects that will improve water access, support water reuse projects and upgrade aging infrastructure.

More than $121 million will go to 14 projects that will improve sustainability and reliability of water and wastewater systems. Another $50 million will go to 27 resource protection projects, including efforts to strengthen water infrastructure against extreme weather or to bolster stormwater management to improve water quality. Nearly $20 million will support eight projects to reclaim water from a variety of sources and then treat it for reuse. 

Big-ticket items include a $19 million award to the city of Gallatin to help build a 118,000 linear-foot transmission main to supply water to the Castalian Springs Bethpage Water Utility District and the cities of Portland and Westmoreland. The collaborative effort addresses regional drinking water needs and mitigates drought conditions.

Almost $16 million will go toward a project to connect the plant and distribution systems between the cities of Lexington and Scotts Hill. The project, which will address regional water-system inadequacies, will absorb the city of Sardis’ plant in the process.

The city of Harriman will spend $10.7 million to upgrade a large-scale distribution-system connect its utility and the city of Crab Orchard. Additionally, Warren County’s Utility District will spend $9.5 million to replace the city of Spencer’s water system infrastructure in preparation for the merger between the two.  

TDEC grants will also support a $9.5 million project that will add a raw-water line to increase the regional capacity of the system that serves Sevier County and the cities of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Additional projects include $5.6 million to build a clean-water facility by the city of Franklin and a $4.2 million project by the city of Chattanooga that includes converting its existing plant water system into a new reclaimed water system.

As part of the tranche of resource protection grants, the Knoxville Utilities Board will spend $4.75 million to tackle sanitary sewer overflows and improve resiliency during extreme weather with upgrades to its water system.

Other protection projects include a $4.6 million award to the West Tennessee River Basin Authority to restore and revitalize the city of Jackson’s Central Creek in partnership with the city’s local housing, energy and redevelopment agencies. The state described the creek as an “impaired stream facing severe alteration and ongoing threats from aging water and wastewater infrastructure.”

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Photo by Patrick Pahlke on Unsplash

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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