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FUD nixes rate hike

Residents of First Utility District have avoided a rate hike for now, but the possibility of a rate increase still looms on the horizon.

First Utility District of Knox County interim manager Wayne Watson said the Board looked at the possibility of a rate increase during its previous meeting, but decided against it at this time.

“At this time we’re not planning on a rate increase,” he said. “We’re probably going to be looking at that again this winter during our budget process.”

Watson said the district has “enough cooperation from our customers” on the voluntary conservation program that it is maintaining water supplies to all its customers.

“At this point we’re going to take no further action as long as the conservation program is working well enough that we can supply all our customers,” he said.

At the end of June, the situation was quite different. Watson had reached out to appeal to the Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen for help.

Watson told the FBMA at that time there were areas of town water was not reaching due to a lack of pressure and water volume. Because of excessive use of water, FUD placed a water restriction on outdoor irrigation systems.

“Our first priority is to deliver drinking water,” Watson said. “The irrigation water is available if we have it, but it is non-essential. Our opinion is that people are over-watering their lawns.”

Watson said FUD is asking customers at even-numbered addresses to water their lawns only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those at odd-numbered addresses should water lawns on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

“We think if people would take these measures, it would solve our water problems,” Watson said in June.

Currently, water volume is adequate to reach all FUD customers, Watson said.

Should residents choose to discontinue conservation measures, then the possibility of the increase comes into play. The increase would strictly be due to lack of conservation and have nothing to do with the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant and the water treatment facility.

First Utility District is currently in the midst of an $18 million expansion of its water treatment plant off Canton Hollow Road and in the design phase of a $15 million expansion of its wastewater treatment facility off Concord Road.

“Construction is currently underway to expand the water treatment plant from twenty-one million gallons to thirty-four million per day,” Watson said. “Construction is expected to be completed next summer.”

Watson said the wastewater treatment facility is in the design process of expanding its facility. Phase 1 of the process includes two proposed clarifiers and a proposed oxidation ditch.

“We’re also proposing to enclose several of the sites in order to reduce odors,” Watson said in a previous statement.

He referred to two large screws that are used to elevate the raw sewage to a high point so it would gravity feed throughout the rest of the facility.


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