Bluff City sewer line collapses, leaders weigh options

BLUFF CITY, TN (WJHL) – Bluff City leaders say they’re facing a new sewer problem after a recent discovery along McClelland Street.

The city’s public works department discovered a collapsed sewer line in part of its system last week after putting cameras down into the sewer lines for a closer look.


This is part of the same sewer system that has overflowed several times at the igloo pump station off Bluff City Highway following heavy rains. Those overflows have even sent raw sewage into Boone Lake, area residents say.

In a workshop Tuesday, the city’s contracted engineering firm Mattern & Craig presented two options to the city on how to improve the collapsed line.

“We’ve entertained options to replace the sewer line only or to also combine some other improvements such as drainage improvements with that work,” David Wilson of Mattern & Craig said. Option 1 costs around $27,000 and option 2 around $87,000.

The city already has a multi-million dollar plan in place with secured funds from the United States Department of Agriculture on a sewer system overhaul, as they work to replace the aging sewer system.

City leaders and the engineering firm hope that the McClelland Street proposed plan can help alleviate manhole overflows for Bluff City residents.”It’s upstream though, anything upstream if you can take flow out, it should theoretically help you downstream,” Wilson said.

“It’s upstream though, anything upstream if you can take flow out, it should theoretically help you downstream,” Wilson said.

Mayor Irene Wells said it seems most of the problem is coming from the McClelland Street area and she’s on board with the project, saying the city will most likely use money from their saving to pay for the work.

“All the board members agree to go along, to go forward. We feel like we’re moving too slow and we’ve got to get this problem taken care of,” Mayor Wells said.

Wilson said the water and sewer plans for phase two of the USDA-funded project have been submitted for review by USDA.

TDED also asked the city to implement a Capacity, Management, Operations and Maintenance Manual, or a handbook for operations. The town is currently reviewing that handbook.

Wilson said the city currently doesn’t have anything like that and it would help set up exact procedures for the city when overflows occur.


Bluff City Mayor Irene Wells said they hope to include the McClelland Street project in the upcoming budget. The city is planning to make a decision on that project before their next meeting in early July.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.


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