Water & Wastewater Department

The McMinnville Water and Wastewater Department is committed to providing a high-quality supply of water to each of its approximately 6,200 customers.  We are also committed to collecting and treating wastewater in a safe and cost-effective way before returning it into the Barren Fork River.

The EPA and State are very stringent on both Water and Wastewater Treatment.  There are many requirements that have to be met, not only to assure the quality of water supplied from the Water Treatment Plant, but also the quality of effluent discharge from the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  The State requires Certified Operators at both plants and also the Distribution and Collection Systems and they have to attend training seminars frequently to keep abreast of changing trends and procedures.

The Maintenance Department is responsible for up-keep of over 112 miles of water lines, including 23 miles of service lines as well as taps, meters, valves and 642 fire hydrants, and also responsible for approximately 105 miles of sewer line and 19 miles of service line as well as manholes and cleanouts.  There are currently 29 sewage lift stations, four water booster stations, three tank sites and a dam.

For sewer line maintenance, the department has a TV inspection truck which uses a mobile crawler camera which is navigated through the sewer lines while the operator is monitoring and recording to a computer hard drive which can later be burned onto a DVD disc.  In turn we can define the severity of any problem viewed and determine the type of action required for repair whether it be point repair, slip-lining or replacing.  The system locates problems such as infiltration which allows water to enter the sewer system during a rain event and cause more water to be treated at the Wastewater Plant which increases operating cost; and it also locates exfiltration points which during dry weather allows the wastewater to seep out of the system and into the soil possibly polluting area streams.

The City is responsible for two environmental programs.  One is the cross-connection program where the department is responsible for ensuring that safe water is provided to all customers.  To protect our distribution system, all industries, commercial businesses, new homes and any existing home replacing their water line are required to install a back-flow prevention device.  This device lets water flow to the customer but will not reverse flow.  This prevents contaminants from entering the main system.  The other is a pre-treatment program which prohibits all industries from discharging any hazardous or toxic wastes into the sewer system that could in turn upset the Wastewater Treatment Plant and possibly the receiving stream.  Industries are monitored at their discharge point for metals, chrome, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, nickel, silver and cadmium.  Both programs are monitored by state certified employees.

The Water and Wastewater Department is a self-supporting department.  It does not receive tax dollars, but operates from water and sewer revenue.  With a current budget of approximately 4.2 million dollars which is allocated for operations and debt service (which repays bonds and loans for plant expansions, line extensions and rehabilitation projects).