As previously reported in the News and Tribune, the rate increases to pay for the project have jumped about 77 percent for town residents. The average bill, which was once $27.95 for 667 cubic feet of usage, is now $49.47.
And those who stumble across the new effluent may not know what it is.
“It’s been built to function as a natural wetland,” said Clarksville Project Manager Brittany Montgomery. “It’s the first of its kind.”
She added that the treated water runs out of the treatment plant through a path to a detention basin, down tiered, natural stones into Mill Creek. The reeds and plants in the basin give the wastewater some additional treatment, Montgomery said. And with the new effluent line the town will be able to discharge up to seven times the amount of water that it could previously handle.
“This is an example of taking a really bad situation that we had, when we had the sewer line collapse, and turning it into a remarkable facility that is ecologically friendly,” Gilkey said. “It’s a much more stable environment than we had with the pipe.”
The next step to complete the effluent portion of the project is to reforest the area by planting more than 500 trees in the basin and low lying areas near the effluent.
“The truth is, you’re never really going to know it’s here,” Montgomery said.