Workers have been assembling a sewer system holding tank near Emory Valley Road and Fairbanks Road. It’s one of three tanks that will help Oak Ridge comply with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order that requires the city to end all sewer system overflows by September 2015.
The Emory Valley Road tank is on a roughly one-acre tract on the east side of the former Daniel Arthur Rehabilitation Center. The other two tanks will be built near the intersection of South Illinois Avenue and Scarboro Road, just down the street from the main entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex, and in an isolated, industrial area off Cairo Road in east Oak Ridge.
The Oak Ridge City Council approved the locations for the three tanks, officially known as equalization basins, in September 2013. The Anderson County Commission agreed to donate a small parcel of land for the Emory Valley Road tank. And the City Council agreed in December 2013 to buy a car wash owned by businessman Terry Mulllins for $125,000 and replace it with the tank at Scarboro Road and South Illinois Avenue as part of a plan to move that equalization basin farther back from the road.
Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder has said the holding tanks are required at critical locations to detain extra water flows during heavy rains to comply with the EPA order.
The tanks could store between one and two million gallons of a mix of storm water and sewer. It’s technically considered sewage, but it will predominantly be storm water that has leaked into the sewer system and exceeded the system’s carrying capacity, Cinder has said.
The tanks could be emptied within a few days after a heavy rain as capacity in the downstream sewers becomes available.
The cost of building the tanks and their associated pump stations was earlier estimated at about $6.5 million.
Officials said earlier that the tanks on Emory Valley Road and Scarboro Road at South Illinois Avenue could be more than 100 feet wide and 18 to 27 feet high.
Some work appears to have also started at the Scarboro Road location.