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West Warren-Viola gushing about utility upgrades
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Kelle Cantrell.jpg

West Warren-Viola Utility District is looking to upgrade its facility as it works to provide water and sewer to new industries locating in the Morrison area.

West Warren-Viola interim manager Kelle Cantrell and engineer Nathaniel Green addressed members of the Industrial Development Board during their monthly meeting in April.

“I’m excited to be there and we’re trying to help with anything we can do with industry in our area,” said Cantrell.

In a quick overview, Cantrell said the utility has 5,500 customers with half of those being located in Warren County. Annual revenue is about $4 million per year with 21% of that coming just from Bridgestone.

Two areas where IDB members have acute interest are in providing sewer to Spec Building 4, which is in active negotiations, and water and sewer to Elam Industrial Site, which is over 200 acres at the Coffee County line that's raw with no infrastructure.

Green projected it would take a full year to get sewer to Spec Building 4 because of all the lead time required to get equipment such as pumps.

Green said a current cost estimate for getting water and sewer to Elam Industrial Site is $2.87 million. He said there is a potential to receive grant money to absorb some of that cost.

“If we know what you’re getting there it will be a lot easier,” said Green, who rolled out some different examples. He said a chicken washing facility, for example, would require a much different system than a lithium battery plant, which requires a pre-treatment system to be in place.

West Warren-Viola Utility currently has a self-imposed moratorium on new sewer connections, meaning they aren’t allowing new connections at this point. He said the treatment plant is only operating at half capacity so that’s not the issue.

“We have the capacity, we just can’t get it there,” said Green, who said the utility is currently devoting a large amount of money to rehabilitation projects and hopes to be able to lift the moratorium on sewer connections soon with new residential construction coming to Morrison.