Sewer treatment plant undergoes emergency repairs

Emergency repairs are taking place at the Middlesboro Sewer Plant. According to Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson, two gears are in serious need of repair.

“There are two giant cylinders that the sewer is dumped in,” said Nelson. “They spin around and around, and it is then sent to the treatment plant.”

Nelson explained that the gears need to be repaired as soon as possible.

“The gears are completely eaten away,” he said. “We can get by with one cylinder because the plant has two, but they can get by with running just one.”

Nelson also discussed the several issues with the city’s sewer.

“We have sewer issues at the plant that was built in 1985, and we’ve got sewer issues with the pipes that go throughout the city,” he explained.

Nelson explained that those pipes are made of clay and are leaking. The repairs will be completed in phases.

“The first couple of phases will be $2.5 million, and they will repair the motors and gears that make it possible to treat the sewage,” Nelson said.

“We have to repair those gears even as we are trying to get a grant for it,” Nelson explained. “Our biggest worry was if we hold off on one and it goes down, then the whole city would shut down if they both go down, so, that is what we are doing.”

The repairs to the sewer plant come after several discussions of raising the sewage rates.

“We have to raise money because it’s going to be tough on us to get loans until we get our audits paid,” he said. “I just want to let the folks know that we don’t like to raise the sewer rates, but we are going to have to and we will keep you informed every step of the way.”