JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Jonesborough’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen held a work session to discuss and receive updates about the town’s new water treatment facility project on Monday.

Jonesborough mayor Chuck Vest said their water system didn’t have enough capacity to meet the demands during the line break emergency last December that left approximately 10,000 residents without water. He said they’re looking at increasing the capacity to handle those types of emergencies.

“We’ll be building a new water plant that can expand our capacity from really the 4 million gallons a day now up to potentially 8 million,” Vest said.

Louis Robbins, project engineer for GRW Engineers, is working with the Town of Jonesborough on designing the new water system facility. He led a presentation during the work session about the updates so far.

Robbins said last December, Jonesborough’s water treatment system was only able to pump 3.2 to 3.5 million gallons a day. So when some of the lines broke, they were not able to refill the main water tank quickly.

“With more than double the treatment pumping capacity then they would be able to refill tanks, their main tank very, very quickly and be able to get back into service much, much more easily,” Robbins said.

Included in the proposed project is a new 24-inch transmission line connecting the water plant to a line at the main water tank on Persimmon Ridge to help with the number of gallons pumped.

“By having that as a dedicated transmission line, they will be able to pump that eight MGD (millions of gallons a day) throughout any processes,” Robbins said. “If any of the sideline breaks happen they can valve those off and continue pumping that 8 million gallons per day into town.
So, it will make everything much more reliable.”

Vest said the first phase of upgrading the water system has already started.

“We’ve already started some construction,” Vest said. “We began this really about two years ago. First phase was replacing old water meters. We’ve already got that basically completed and now the next phase is the design of this water treatment plant. And that’s where we’re at today. And it’s really close. We’ll be hopefully getting approval on this design here in the next few months.”

A slide showing a layout design of one side of the new water system plant building (photo: WJHL)

Robbin said the design is 99% complete and that it’s still under review from the state review authority.

“It is also under review within the town personnel and they’ll make suggestions as to things that they might want slightly different,” Robbins said.

The entirety of the new water system plant will take an estimated three and a half years to be completed.

“We’re a small town of less than 7,000 people, but we transmit water to over 13,000 homes here in Jonesborough, but really out into the county,” Vest said. “And that’s something we take seriously. So having this plant, being able to handle the new growth that we had, but also being able to handle any type of emergency that comes in the future is really important to us. And this is a step in that right direction.”