City to discuss sewer bill permit

  By Thomas Wilson
star staff
  South Elizabethton Utility District customers could find themselves without water service if a sewer service bill to the city of Elizabethton goes unpaid.
  An agreement between the city and the SEUD permitting disconnection of service to district customers who do not pay their city sewer bill comes to the Elizabethton City Council at its meeting Thursday night.
  The city provides sewer services to some SEUD customers. Under the agreement, the utility district would disconnect water service to a district customer who failed to pay his or her city sewer bill. The city would provide SEUD notice of customers that had not paid the sewer bill. The district would restore water service after the customer provided a receipt of payment to the city and payment of a service fee to SEUD to reconnect water service.
  The city previously had no method to halt water service to SEUD customers if the sewer bill went unpaid.
  In other business, the city's public works department also hopes council members will approve funding to replace an obsolete telemetry system gauging the city's water systems.
  The department is requesting the purchase of telemetry and programming equipment totaling $63,000 from the Mesa company to replace existing equipment at the city's water treatment plant and distribution system. The telemetry system monitors utility system functions including pump stations, water treatment plant tanks, and chlorine levels in water
  "It provides everything we need to know so we don't have to be running all over the system," said Ted Leger, city director of public works. "This is what has allowed us to monitor tanks, all the water pumps and auto reporting system."
  The public works department maintains 75 square miles containing its water and sewer system. The telemetry purchase request covers $31,000 for source and treatment and $32,000 for water transmission and distribution monitoring.
  Unlike the existing equipment, parts are readily available to service the new telemetry. The department has wrestled with occasional failures of the current telemetry system, which no longer meets requirements set forth by the state, according to the city.
  The public works department's maintenance supervisor, George Harrison, said some existing telemetry equipment had been installed during the early 1990s.
   "It has done well and lasted well, but if it goes out now we can't get any repairs or replacement parts," Harrison said. "The majority of what we have out there is obsolete."
  Leger said the city was fortunate in getting the existing telemetry several years ago with an efficient system at a much lower cost. However, the technology had grown significantly in recent years with more vendors offering more advanced systems. Mesa is the sole telemetry source identified by the city to supply the telemetry.
  Harrison said he and another electrician would likely install the new telemetry if purchased by the council. He said actual installation and bringing the new telemetry system on line could take several months.
  The council will also consider approval of the following agenda items on Thursday night:
  -Adopting on second reading an ordinance on the city's 2005 fiscal year budget amendment
  -Approve paying the remainder of $5,982 in annual Appalachian League dues for the Elizabethton Twins baseball team. The city pays the dues annually with half paid in June and the remainder in July
  -Approve paying annual membership dues of $3,918 to the Tennessee Municipal League
  -Approve a state-imposed maintenance fee based on the number of water service connections in the city's utility system. The fee totals $11,700 to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.