Hickman County Times: Fixing leaks better than building anew (9/26/2022)

Wastewater proposal

September 26, 2022

By RODES HART and AMANDA MATHIS Friends of Lick Creek

In a recent column, “Let reading infiltrate your weekend,” the editor of the Hickman County Times suggested that opposing the proposed Water Authority of Dickson County’s (WADC) new sewer plant in Hickman County could lead to a moratorium on new growth for our county.

He goes on to suggest one of the alternatives to building a new sewage treatment plant — fixing existing leaks — is not a viable solution and is a waste of money.

We respectfully disagree. This alternative (George E. Kurz Engineering Report — Sept 18, 2020) involves repairing the existing WADC system rather than building an entirely new plant in Hickman County. Fixing the problems with existing plants will certainly cost money, as will any project. However, fixing the existing plants will cost far less than building a new plant.

The WADC claims they need a new plant because their existing plants are over 90 percent of capacity, and more capacity is needed to support growth in Dickson and Williamson counties. The previously referenced study revealed that 61 percent of the water in the WADC plant is rainwater, not actual wastewater. If WADC fixes the leaks, the plants’ flow could decrease from 90 percent of capacity to less than 50 percent.

All that capacity is being wasted, along with the economic growth it could support. The question at hand here is why waste the capacity? Why build a new plant and take land from families in Hickman County to create capacity that already exists?

Think of it this way:

You need additional bedrooms in your home for family or guests to stay. However, you already have a three-bedroom house — a bedroom for you and two additional bedrooms that need a new coat of paint and some other repairs. Would you build two more bedrooms? Or would you utilize your existing capacity and simply repair your existing bedrooms? The choice is obvious.

Eventually, the WADC will need to fix their leaking lines. Will that be after they have spent tens of millions of unnecessary dollars on a new plant, or before?

To us, it is an easy answer. The WADC apparently never even considered this alternative in proposing the new plant as they are required to do. They have their sights squarely set on Hickman County.

The benefit of this proposed plant is not designed for Hickman County. Nearly all the projected wastewater comes from our wealthier neighbors, Williamson and Dickson Counties. This will result in 12 million gallons of treated wastewater per day being pumped into Hickman County waterways: Lick Creek, which leads to Duck River.

Let that number settle in for a moment: 12 million gallons per day is not a small amount of chemical effluent. Our water polluted, our land condemned and our way of life altered for a plant that does not even benefit the citizens of Hickman County.

We are certainly not anti-growth for Hickman County. We simply believe that growth and infrastructure decisions should be in the hands of Hickman County and be made in the best interests of its residents, its beautiful natural resources and its quality way of living.

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