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Washington County to study water infrastructure needs

Robert Houk • Jan 23, 2020 at 8:00 AM

Washington County commissioners are scheduled to create a task force at their meeting Monday to address water and related infrastructure needs in the county.

The commission is expected to appoint nine members to a study panel to be headed by county Mayor Joe Grandy.

Commissioners will vote on a resolution calling on the water task force to “determine what is possible and capable of occurring, to identify how best to move forward and to establish how best to fund any water project(s) that might be brought forward.”

It has also directed the task force to review a feasibility study of water line improvements prepared by Tysinger Hampton & Partners Inc.

The water task force is a result of goals the commission set following a workshop — held on Jan. 19, 2019 — at East Tennessee State University’s Valleybrook Campus in Kingsport. Commissioners are scheduled to meet in another daylong workshop at the same location on Saturday.

Developing a comprehensive infrastructure, specifically to supply drinking water and firefighting services in rural areas of the county, was identified as a top objective of the commission.

Commissioner Robbie Tester told his colleagues last year that because of the amount of funding needed to build such an infrastructure, it could take 30 years or more to realize that goal.

Grandy has proposed Tom Witherspoon, Johnson City’s water/sewer director; Chad Austin, Kingsport’s water distribution and collection lines manager; and Jonesborough Water Distribution Superintendent Mike McCracken to be appointed to the water task force.

The mayor has also suggested Jill Workman, an engineer with Tysinger Hampton & Partners, and Ken Rea, of the First Tennessee Development District, also serve on the panel, along with Commissioners Gary McAllister, Bryan Davenport and Jerome Fitzgerald.

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