Maryville’s water and sewer department is set to spend several months at the end of the year cleaning up details in its rules and regulations for the first time in more than a decade.
In a late September work session, council members and city officials discussed a series of changes, additions and deletions in the water and sewer department’s rules, regulations and policies — standards that govern how the department operates.
The changes that already have been finished — and that were discussed in the work session — are from the second part of policies. This part governs only water: specifically how lines are taken care of, how customers are charged and how the city maintains the system.
Maryville Public Utility Director Barron Swafford said in a phone interview the water section is only one of five that will be reviewed in the coming months.
“Almost 100% of the changes were clean up,” Swafford said, adding that changes in departmental structure including titles and even the names of departments have shifted over the past 10 years, and the policy has yet to officially reflect this.
For instance, alterations discussed in the City Council workshop include the change from all instances of “Water Quality Control” to “Water and Sewer Department” because the departments have merged and changed management hands since the whole policy was last reviewed.
But more significant changes reflect some advances in the water system as well.
The policy now has added a requirement for all meters to be equipped with automatic meter reading capabilities — a technological move the city is still in the process of completing.
Other changes govern how the city disinfects lines with chlorine and how it samples bacteria after such cleanings.
Alterations that may affect developers and property owners also are getting a makeover.
For instance, the department has removed the necessity for developers or anyone else to be present during an inspection of new water lines, giving the city sole responsibility in making sure the lines are up to code.
It has removed sections showing the city’s willingness to extend its lines for new subdivisions “when requested and if funds are available.”
Also removed: a section saying the city can connect to or extend a water main already installed without “obligation to the developer or consumer who installed such main.”
“The construction standards change,” Swafford confirmed. “There was a lot of stuff that was outdated.”
These tweaks to policy come directly after the city’s water received a clean bill of health this summer in its 2019 water quality report.
Maryville’s water quality has been violation free for more than six years. According to data from the report, it served customers with 1,487,628,000 gallons of drinking water in 2018.
“That is enough water to cover the Maryville High School football field 3,452 feet deep, or over half way up Mt. LeConte as measured from sea level,” the report boasts.
But water is only the first section of five policy sections the water and sewer department is reviewing.
Swafford said he will present changes to another part of the policy at the city’s October work session.
Once all five sections of the policy are reviewed and changed, the water and sewer department will bring the cleaned-up policy to City Council for approval.
This may happen as soon as January, Swafford said.