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Consent Decree

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Chattanooga – Consent Decree

Chattanooga in 50 years has gone from being the most polluted city in America to a celebrated renaissance community. The natural resources that frame the city – the Tennessee River, Lookout and Signal Mountains – combined with an 18-mile Riverwalk make Chattanooga a great place to live, work and play.

The revitalization of Chattanooga began with a focus on water through the construction of the country’s only freshwater aquarium. This development on the shores of the Tennessee River sparked a multi-year commitment to use the natural resources of the community as the foundations for revitalizing the downtown, restoring the relationship between natural resources and a great mid-size city.

Rain Drop only The Current Problem

Portions of our wastewater infrastructure system are reaching the end of their useful life, therefore causing failures in the wastewater system. These failures mostly occur during heavy rain events when there may not be enough capacity in the wastewater system for the high volume of stormwater and wastewater. This, many times, results in sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). SSOs pose a potential threat to public health, the environment, and the City’s economic development.

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The City of Chattanooga is committed to providing the best water quality and wastewater service, and has a community-wide improvement plan to meet the terms of its Consent Decree agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN). 

Click here to learn more about Consent Decree

Rain Drop only The Solution

The City has embarked on a multi-phase, multi-year project that includes major upgrades and revisions to several sections of the wastewater system including pipe rehabilitation, pump station improvements, upgrades to the Moccasin Bend Wastewater treatment plant and comprehensive operational audits.

That effort is called Clear Chattanooga.

Rain Drop onlyClear Chattanooga ’s Comprehensive 3R Approach:

Our compliance strategy will be to:

  • RESTORE optimal functionality and capacity to the sewer system,
  • REPAIR the system and prevent chronic overflows, and
  • REPLACE aging infrastructure that is beyond good use.

Clear Chattanooga’s 3R approach is being managed in two major phases.

Phase 1 involves the rehabilitation of high priority sewer pipes, upgrades to selected pump stations, reliability and capacity improvements to the wastewater treatment plant and the installation of high priority equalization stations in areas with recurring SSOs. These stations will temporarily store the wastewater and stormwater until the system can handle it.


Phase 2 includes the continued repair and replacement of sewer pipes throughout the system and the installation of the remaining planned equalization stations.

Rain Drop only T he Benefits of Clear Chattanooga

These improvements to the City’s wastewater infrastructure are vital to the system’s health and the City’s future. They will enhance the community's quality of life and make Chattanooga an even better place to live, work and play.

Clear Chattanooga will:

  • Support the City’s commitment to protect our community’s water quality through the significant reduction of Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO).
  • Restore the wastewater treatment infrastructure necessary to sustain regional growth demands.
  • Help facilitate a healthy, thriving population free from water-related environmental threats.
  • Provide up-to-date information regarding ongoing infrastructure projects, along with opportunities to provide feedback.

Ultimately, Clear Chattanooga:

  • Improves quality of life for all Chattanooga citizens.
  • Creates peace of mind during recreational activities.
  • Preserves the prized possession of our city: the natural environment.

Rain Drop only What Happens If We Don’t Act

Without support for this initiative, Chattanooga runs the risk of:

  • Irreparable damage to the environment because of the continued presence of contaminants in our waterways, public parks and recreational areas.
  • Decreased regional competitiveness leading to fewer opportunities for the development and sustainability of unique experiences provided by new business in the region.
  • Fewer corporations choosing Chattanooga. This translates into fewer jobs and a shrinking tax base.

This plan to improve the City's wastewater system is part of our ongoing commitment to our citizens to protect and to improve the quality-of-life in the City of Chattanooga. 

Check out our Consent Decree Program Update Story Map!

CD Storymap

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Serve people with integrity and improve the infrastructure and environment through excellence.

Justin Holland, Administrator
1250 Market Street
Chattanooga TN 37402 (map)
(423) 643-6311



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