Over a billion gallons of water unaccounted for in Carter County - WFLA News Channel 8

Over a billion gallons of water unaccounted for in Carter County

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ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) -

It's called the "Pork Report", and today, a Tennessee watchdog group released some staggering numbers about missing water in two utility districts in Carter County.

For the Elizabethton utility district, the reports shows 55% of the water unaccounted for. In the North Elizabethton district, 62% of its water also missing. That's a combined loss of over a billion gallons of water in just a year.

The problem goes back more than a couple of decades, "at that time had really not had a whole lot of infrastructure upgrades or repairs and so that is why the water loss at North is extremely high," said Director of WRRWA Bryon Trantham.

With more than a billion gallons lost in both districts, the financial impact is huge. "Revenue loss is to our meters not being accurate is about $200,000 a year and our estimated loss from leaky water lines is about $650,000 a year," said Elizabethton Director of Utilities Johanna Coetzee.

For those who live in the water districts the loss means higher rates.

"Leaks continually spring up, so it is a battle that is continuously ongoing," said Trantham. Coetzee told News Channel 11, "it will be completely impossible to ever have no leaks in a water system, but it is unacceptable to have leaks at the rate that we have them right now."

Both districts are working to fix leaks, replace water lines and improve the accuracy of the water meters.

North Elizabethton has already seen improvement, but those improvements cost money.

"That's the goal for everybody," said Trantham, "to lower water bills and to make adjustments."

However, there is no timeline of when residents will start to see a reduction on their water bill.

Elizabethton was among 56 cities in Tennessee that lost what government standards would consider excessive, a water loss of 35% or more.

Jonesborough was another area that saw a high percentage of water loss, 55.6% was unaccounted for, totaling over 740 million gallons.

The city of Elizabethton will receive some help to solve its water loss problems.

The state announced Wednesday, the utility district would receive $650,000 in loans and principal forgiveness for a green project that includes a water-loss reduction program and replacement of water lines.


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