How does connecting Crockett to Jonesborough sewers offer opportunity for future development?

Jessica Fuller • Updated Jan 13, 2018 at 11:40 PM

Thanks to a state grant and a partnership between the town of Jonesborough and the Washington County Commission, the county’s Department of Education reached a long-sought goal of connecting David Crockett High School to Jonesborough’s main sewer system.

And that success comes with perks for the town, too.

Crockett’s sewer has been served by what’s called a package plant for all of its 45 years. A package system is a small treatment system typically used in small communities or on individual properties, like a school.

But after 45 years, the plant was dated, deteriorating and operating at 82 percent capacity. The solution was to either replace the package plant or connect the school to Jonesborough’s main sewer line, according to Washington County Department of Education Facilities Director Phillip Patrick.

“It was just a really high-maintenance piece of equipment to begin with,” Patrick said.

Either way, the county was going to have to find the money to proceed, and Patrick said it can be difficult to get permits for package plants through the state nowadays. Connecting to Jonesborough’s system would also be less expensive and require less ongoing maintenance, so the department began working with Jonesborough to find ways to fund what would be an $830,000 project.

The help came at the end of 2015 with a community block grant through the state that would fund $525,000 of the project. The county made up for the $305,000 shortfall, and Jonesborough contributed employees to work on the project, said Ken Rea of the First Tennessee Development District.

“When it comes to a school I’ve noticed people just come together, everyone dropped everything and asked, ‘How can I help?’” Rea said.

The project was completed over the holiday break, and Patrick said the last step is to seal off the old plant when it gets warmer to abandon it. Because the project required extending sewer line from the school to the nearest pump station, that could open some doors for future development in the area, too.

“Currently there are no plans for additional connections, with that line in existence it does permit us for more development within the county,” Said Coeburn Rasnick, Jonesborough’s Environmental Services director. “There’s quite a large area where it’s currently undeveloped fields that could benefit from this.”

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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