CLINTON—Despite a few concerns about whether the tank would be an eyesore, Anderson County officials on Monday endorsed a request to give up to 2.05 acres on Emory Valley Road in Oak Ridge for a sewer system holding tank.
The tank would be east of the former Daniel Arthur Rehabilitation Center, and it would be used to help Oak Ridge stop all sewer system overflows by 2015, as required by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order.
The Anderson County Commission endorsed the land donation in a voice vote Monday night.
Commissioner Jerry White voted against the request. He said people in the Emory Valley area think the tank, which could be about 125 feet in diameter and rise as high as 34 feet in the center, could be an eyesore and harmful to the community.
Commissioners discussed moving the tank farther back from Emory Valley Road and into the woods, and agreed to allow Oak Ridge to start soil sampling on other parts of the property, which is near the intersection of Emory Valley and Fairbanks roads. Commissioners said the Oak Ridge City Council could have a work session on the holding tank on Monday, Aug. 26.
Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder has said several holding tanks are required at critical locations in the city to detain extra water flows during heavy rains to comply with the EPA order. The Emory Valley Road tank would be emptied within a few days after a heavy rain as capacity in the downstream sewers becomes available, Cinder said.
“It should be noted that while technically the material is considered sewage, it is predominantly storm water that has leaked into the sewer system and exceeding its capacity to carry it to the treatment plant,” he said in a memo last month.
Oak Ridge has asked Anderson County for the land to build the tank and an associated pump station. In return, the city would agree to take over the storm water detention pond at the site and perform required maintenance on the pond and surrounding land.
Cinder said the city doesn’t need the entire 2.05 acres if the county wants to keep the wooded area to the north of the tank.
The county-owned Daniel Arthur Center is used by satellite county offices, the Oak Ridge Senior Center, and the Emory Valley Center.
Commission Chair Chuck Fritts and Commissioner John Shuey were absent from Monday night’s meeting.