The city is repairing a large landslide that occurred next to the access road to the Oak Ridge water treatment plant on Pine Ridge above the Y-12 National Security Complex during the rainy month of February.
The landslide occurred on the night of February 23, Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira McWaters told City Manager Mark Watson in a June 24 memo. The access road is the only access road to the city’s water plant, and it’s critical to being able to operate the water plant, McWaters said. The road allows operations and maintenance workers to get to the water plant and deliver materials, equipment, and chemicals.
Repairs were started immediately after the landslide to minimize the risk of more damage to the area and the potential to lose the only access road to the plant, McWaters said. She said work started in March and should be complete by the end of July.
The water plant provides water to both the City of Oak Ridge and to U.S. Department of Energy sites, including Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The plant is on a ridge at the southern entrance to central Oak Ridge above the main entrance to Y-12 at Bear Creek Road and Scarboro Road.
Concerns about slope instability near the ridge top water plant are one reason that city officials want to replace the 70-year-old facility. They plan to build a new plant near the city’s water intake at the Clinch River in south Oak Ridge.
February, when the landslide occurred, was rainy. Oak Ridge had more than 15 inches of rain that month, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown. That was a record, the NWS said. There were other landslides reported across East Tennessee that month, including on State Route 116 in north Anderson County.
McWaters said the landslide near the water plant required the Oak Ridge Public Works Department to rent special equipment to get to the landslide; remove wet, unstable soils; and place new rock to stabilize the area.
Her department is asking Oak Ridge City Council to approve another $45,000 for equipment rental during a meeting on Monday, July 8. There is funding available in the waterworks fund, and the city will seek partial reimbursement for part of the landslide costs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and DOE, McWaters said.
You can see the agenda for the City Council meeting on July 8 here. Oak Ridge City Council meets in the Municipal Building Courtroom at 200 South Tulane Avenue.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
You can contact John Huotari, owner and publisher of Oak Ridge Today, at (865) 951-9692 or [email protected]
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