After nearly reaching capacity in sewer tap accesses, the town of Thompson’s Station approved a $2.9 million bid Tuesday night that will see the construction of new wastewater drip fields on the Hill Property, behind the existing wastewater plant near the CSX line.

Rather than a typical wastewater treatment plant, the town of Thompson’s Station currently uses drip fields to treat and dispose of wastewater, a method that sees water treated, cleaned and eventually dripped over a large area of land.

Originally purchased in early 2018 for roughly $3 million, the Hill Property was sold to the city from Encompass Land Group, the developer behind the Canterbury development. With the city nearing its sewer capacity in recent years, Ecompass purchased the 170-acre property with the intention of selling it directly to the town for a low price, as to allow for more housing development by providing the town with land for more drip fields.

The measure passed unanimously, and the eventual construction of the drip fields will ultimately allow for development, both commercial and residential, to continue within the town.

“It’s been a long time coming, [and] it’s not a matter of wanting to, it’s a ‘have to’ — we need these drip fields to honor prior commitments made for connectivity,” said Mayor Corey Napier. “Tonight is a good night for the town in the sense that we’re moving ahead on our physical plant situation that allows us not only to take care of the residential side, but also accommodate some of the future growth in the form of commercial.”

While the board voted to approve the project, discussions on the topic of the town’s future wastewater ventures hasn’t always been pleasant. When the town purchased the Hill Property, it was with the intention of using it solely for the construction of more drip fields. In recent months, town leaders have discussed the idea of constructing a more standard type of wastewater treatment plant, something Alderman Ben Dilk and former Alderman Graham Sheppard fought against on a routine basis.

Nevertheless, Dilks was in agreement Tuesday night that despite his differences with some of the other board members, the town did need to increase its sewer capacity.

“I’m not aware of any disagreement among our elected officials or residents about the need to bring more drip field online,” Dilks wrote. “We’ve disagreed about timing, cost, and location, but not the inevitability of needing more disposal capacity. We all voted tonight to add that at a reasonable construction cost.”

Alderman Brandon Bell was also pleased with the vote, saying the town will be in a better place because of it.

“I think it gets us over the hurdle of being stuck in the gridlock of not being able to progress with all the things that are associated with the sewer taps in the city,” Bell said. “It’s a positive thing, it took us a long time to get to this point, a lot of contentious discussions, but overall it was obviously the will of the board.”

Construction on the new drip fields is expected to begin in roughly a month, with a build out period of approximately 240 days. Upon completion of the new drip fields, the town will be capable of allowing further sewer access to new development.

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