Cleveland Secures $ 10.8 Million Loan to Fund More Sewer Upgrades

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The ongoing sewer improvement in Cleveland, Tennessee received a boost of $ 10.8 million this week thanks to a state loan.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers announced the loan last week. It comes from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program and aims to correct seepage and inflow into Cleveland’s sewer collection system, officials said.

The loan has a term of 20 years at 0.73% interest. Greg Clark, head of wastewater collection at Cleveland Utilities, said the rate was less than half the rate the city got with another $ 10 million program loan in 2018.

“Usually what we’ve done is we get a loan of $ 10 million and inside of that we’ll usually do three rehabilitation projects with that money,” Clark said Thursday. “Each year we will be offering a contract for around $ 3 million to $ 3.5 million, depending on how the work progresses until we use all of those funds.”

The loan will fund work along South Ocoee Street and in the Dalton Pike neighborhood of South Cleveland, as well as additional improvements near Bowman Hills off North Ocoee Street, Clark said. Some streets north of the Bowman Hills area will also see improvements, he said.

Specific loan-financed works in these areas include ‘cured-in-place’ liner to rehabilitate existing main sewer lines and the rehabilitation of laterals to customers and maintenance holes throughout the project area, a. Clark said.

Clark said some money from a 2018 loan will be combined with the new loan to help continue the overlapping projects. Ongoing assessment and smoke testing of the sewage system helps identify areas in greatest need and make the most efficient use of loan funds, he said.

“These loans from the state revolving fund loan program address important infrastructure needs and demonstrate our commitment to helping communities across our state,” Governor Lee said in a statement on the loan.

“These loans are expected to have a big impact,” Salyers said.

State program loans have provided millions for sewer projects in Cleveland over the years, Clark said.

More recently, the city received a $ 10 million loan in March 2018 for similar sewer issues and another $ 1.3 million loan for related infrastructure works three months later. The interest rate at the time was 1.58% and 1.56%, respectively, according to previous Times Free Press reports. The $ 1.3 million loan was increased in 2019 by $ 379,500 for an expansion of the collection system to include the installation of approximately 7,750 linear feet of sewer lines to replace the septic tanks.

Clark said projects are prioritized and an effort is made to undertake multiple projects in the same area at the same time, where possible, for better efficiency and pricing.

Sometimes other activities speed up the work.

Clark said the Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to repave portions of South Ocoee Street and Dalton Pike. Cleveland officials therefore want the planned work to be carried out there before TDOT work so that the new sidewalk is not immediately damaged.

Clark said the loan program has been a boon to Cleveland’s sewage system, compared to funding through municipal bonds, and helps keep rate increases to a minimum.

Contact Ben Benton at [email protected] or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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