Wednesday, August 27 2014, 11:42 PM EDT
Chattanooga Changing Its Storm Water Drainage System
Chattanooga is under fire.
The EPA and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation say the city isn't living up to both organization's guidelines. Those guidelines suggest the city's storm water run-off system is outdated, which causes dirty water to flow into the Tennessee River.
The city says they've worked for years to find a solution. Now, the Storm Water Board has three short months to present their improvements to Chattanooga City Council for a final vote.
"We have been batting this thing around for quite some time and we need to get this thing to the city council," says Storm Water Board Member, Karl Sodergren. "Let them decide which way to go in it. They don't have to agree with us. They can vote one way or another on this but they need to hear it.
The first option, keeping the buffer zones (which are areas for rainwater to flow off the property of all homes and businesses) to 30 feet apart. The second option is increasing them to 60 feet, which would cost the city more money. The more expensive choice could potentially tack on an estimated 46-thousand dollars to development per acre. One council member in the meeting says clean water could come at a hefty price.
Larry Grohn says, "Everyone in Tennessee is concerned about ensuring we have quality water but also without burdening development and having a negative or dampening affect on development."
In Wednesday's meeting, the board voted 5 to 3 to pick the less expensive option. Board members are hopeful it will bring Chattanooga up-to-code while still inviting business to the Scenic City.
"We have new buildings. Building codes have changed. Much more energy efficient. More aesthetically pleasing. Better landscaping. There's plenty of reasons we want to encourage redevelopment. It also brings fresh businesses to the area," says Sodergren.
The Chattanooga City Council will make their decision next week. The new plan must be implemented by December 1.
By: Kelsey Bagwell