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State awards sewer grant to Rocky Top

Rocky Top has been awarded $630,000 in a new Community Development Block Grant to help pay for $4.1 million in sewer improvements, City Manager Michael Foster told the City Council last Thursday.

The new grant is in addition to a grant of $792,000 awarded to the city in August for the project. Rocky Top also is scheduled to receive $275,000 from Anderson County toward the sewer project, and is seeking a $400,000 appropriation from Campbell County, within which most of the sewer system lies, Foster said.

With the newest grant, most of the money is now in place to complete the sewer system upgrades the city has been working on for the past four or five years, Foster said.

“We’re finally close to getting our system up to date,” Foster told the council.

Rocky Top is nearing the end of its sewer upgrades just as nearby Norris gears up to fix its own similar problems under an order from the state’s environmental regulators.

Rocky Top got out in front of its sewer problems before they had time to become an issue with the state, so it avoided fines and orders from the state for violations such as Norris was cited for earlier this year.

Water-line improvements will be next, Foster indicated. A lot of water lines are still unmapped, and their locations either unknown or known only to longtime current and former utility department workers, Foster said.

The city has been locating and replacing old sewer lines, and will be doing the same with aging water lines, Foster said.

Foster also told the council Thursday that the city’s new automated garbage truck was to be delivered on Monday.

But he said late Monday afternoon that the truck had not yet been delivered, and is still undergoing some repairs on issues found during its pre- delivery inspection.

Special new trash cans that must be used with the truck have already been delivered to the city, and will be given out to residential trash-pickup customers probably early next year.