Water treatment plant receives state approval

By Bob Robinson

STAR STAFF

   Elizabethton Mayor Sam LaPorte said last night that the City of Elizabethton would begin the bidding process to improve water quality standards at the Big Springs water treatment plant.
   City Manager Charles Stahl said the Tennessee Department of Environment and conservation gave him a verbal okay to proceed with the project.
   Heavy rainfall in August caused turbidity problems at the Big Springs plant, a problem which has existed for 10 years, according to Gay Irwin, program manager of the Division of Water Supply for TDEC.
   The turbidity forced the City in August to issue a two-week water advisory, urging citizens not to drink the water without boiling it first.
   Irwin said the City has already been given $2 million for various improvements through the Drinking Water Revolving Fund; $800,000 of that money has been earmarked for the Big Springs project.
   "Since approval of the project and receipt of the available funds, the City of Elizabethton has inquired if the monies designated for these projects might better be used for the development of a new source intake on the Watauga River," Irwin wrote in a Sept. 13 letter to Ted Leger, public works director for the City of Elizabethton.