Water authority board votes to move ahead with study on taking over White Bluff sewer system

The Water Authority of Dickson County will move ahead with an assessment to determine whether it wants to assume ownership of the town of White Bluff’s sewer system. The authority board voted unanimously Monday night to approve an interlocal agreement with White Bluff to conduct a 60-90-day assessment of the White Bluff system. The board also voted to contract with CH2M Hill for an engineering analysis as part of that assessment. When the study is completed, the results will be presented to both sides to continue discussions on whether the wastewater treatment system will be turned over to the authority. The White Bluff Town Council approved the assessment proposal last week and included up to $15,000 in its 2014-15 budget proposal to pay for half the cost of the engineering study. Colorado-based CH2M HILL is an international engineering firm with an office in Nashville and has consulted on previous projects for the water authority. WADC Executive Director Mike Adams said the consulting contract sets a cap of $28,000 for the project, which will be split by White Bluff and the authority. Attorney Ben Regen said the interlocal agreement sets up a three-phase assessment that starts with what he called a “paper phase,” that includes identifying and locating system components, a cost-of-service analysis, a growth potential analysis and seeks to identify currently pending and potential developments. The second phase will be an operational analysis in which authority employees will work side by side with White Bluff sewer employees to assess the system’s status and needs. A third phase will be personnel development to determine the needs that would be created by assuming control of the system. Once the assessment and engineering study are completed, the results will be presented to the town council and water authority board of directors to determine whether both entities are interested in continuing talks about turning the system over to the authority. Mayor Linda Hayes said at last week’s council meeting that, pending the findings of the assessment, she is confident that turning the system over to the water authority will be in the best interest for the town’s 1,200 customers as well as the department’s two employees.