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City, county offering water help
Water Department director Anthony Pelham.

Warren County water utilities and McMinnville Water Department are offering manpower in Fall Creek Falls State Park to assist in an ongoing drought prevention effort.
According to reports, customers of Fall Creek Falls Utility District in Van Buren County could be without water by the first week of January unless torrents of rainfall or another solution is found. An emergency treatment facility has been constructed at Fall Creek Falls State Park to pull water from its lake.
“Our staff is helping support a significant emergency drought prevention measure that’s ongoing at Fall Creek Falls State Park,” said McMinnville Water Department director Anthony Pelham. “Over the last month, the Department of Corrections in concert with TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) and a couple of other private agencies have constructed an emergency water treatment facility at the park.”
The facility will be treating water from Fall Creek Falls Lake to support the 1,700 customers of the utility district if its water supply runs out. Among those customers is Fall Creek Falls State Park. The park, as well as the other customers of the utility, have been under a water restrictions alert since Oct. 25 due to the extreme drought conditions.
Fall Creek Falls Utility District gets its water from the Department of Correction-owned and operated Taft Water Treatment Plant, which taps tiny Bee Creek near the prison.
Local water utilities are offering manpower to run the temporary treatment facility.
“Warren County Utility District, West Warren-Viola Utility District and the city of McMinnville have been working with them,” said Pelham. “Our staff has been going up there to help support them through this drought. They are in very dire condition.”
Warren County is fortunately unaffected by the drought.
“The city of McMinnville and Warren County are so blessed to be where we are with the resources we have, but we have some neighbors on the plateau that are not,” said Pelham. “It’s nice to be able to help a neighbor.”
TDEC issued a statement asking residents in Southeast Tennessee to start cutting back. The drought is affecting water utilities in almost every plateau and the Sequatchie Valley.