It has been a long time coming, but it has finally arrived.
In a joint press conference Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and city officials met at Eagleville City Hall and announced the federal government will provide more than $1 million in emergency grant funding so that a much needed sewer project can get underway.
The $2.6 million dollar sewer system will eliminate run off from failing septic tanks, which pose possible public health hazards to the residents.
The remaining funds will be covered by a $1.62 million loan from the federal government.
Eagleville Mayor Sam Tune said he estimates Eagleville residents will pay around $40 a month for a sewer fee to repay the loan, but the rate hasn not yet been finalized.
Beginning a couple of years ago, when Tune became mayor of Eagleville, his main objective was to fight for a sewer. By the crowd of senators, representatives and others in attendance on Wednesday, it was obvious his work has paid off for the community of Eagleville.
His fight started several years after Eagleville received funds to extend sewer service to its residents, but the treatment plant and lines were never built.
“I had nothing to do with the agreement from the past, as I understand there was no grant," Tune said. "A grant is free; a loan you pay back. Yes, you are still paying today for the mistakes from the past. I have no idea what the money was used for or what happened to it."
Looking past those mistakes, Tune met with SEC Inc., a Murfreesboro civil engineering firm, and developed a plan and design for the new sewer system.
“We met with SEC President Jamie Reed (and) discussed our health issues. After many meetings and conversations, we decided we could make a go of the sewer project to reduce health issues. In the long run, it was a simple agreement,” Tune said.
SEC then helped with the engineering, grant writing, permits and “whatever it took to get a sewer for Eagleville," he said.
"They would do all the work that was required to successfully build a sewer plant at a affordable rate to our citizens, or they would not get paid. As of yet, they have not been paid one red cent,” Tune said.
“So, how can our citizens afford a sewer?” he said, “Everyone else has put four years of hard work and spent many dollars at no cost to the citizens.”
The sewer system comes after neighbors have complained for years that when it rains, they cannot walk down the streets of Eagleville due to the smell.
Installing a new wastewater infrastructure for public safety is key to economic growth, city leaders said.
In addition to sewer lines, the Consolidated Utility District will also install new water lines.
This will provide quality, quantity and fire protection, Tune said.
The project is expected to go to bid in March, with construction beginning in April or May. Project planners estimate the project will be completed in six to nine months.
Tune said he hopes to hook Eagleville School to the line first and work out from there.
“My goal would be to see the school on line when students come back in August,” he said, adding most residents and businesses should be hooked up by Christmas.
Tune also reassured residents there would be no odor form the treatment plant.
“There will be no odor whatsoever,” Tune said. “We are told that we can cut hay from the fields for additional income to the city.”
Eagleville City Councilman Andy Soapes said he was proud to see the city and community come together “to complete something our grandchildren will be proud of.”
A ground-breaking ceremony for the project will take place in May 2013.
A map of the first phase of the project can be view on the Eagleville Times website at www.eaglevilletimes.com.