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Water Treatment Plant Upgrades

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Water header graphic

How much water does the City pull from the River annually?

1.15 percent annual city withdrawal 5 year average

Why does the City need an upgraded water plant?


How many customers does the city service with the water treatment plant?

The City Water Department serves approximately 17,000 customers.  Fifteen to thirty percent of the water is produced by the City of Franklin.  About seventy percent is purchased from the Harpeth Valley Utility District.

What are the costs of the new upgrades and what do they include?

The upgrades to the Franklin Water Treatment plant are much needed.  The plant was originally designed in early 1950's, with the last upgrades taking place in 1968 and 1994.  Some of the equipment still being used is more than 50 years old.  The new upgrades will include membrane filtration, UV/advanced oxidation and granular activated carbon (GAC) contactors, all state of the art water treatment equipment that will improve water quality for our current customers and future regulatory requirements.

old water plant

The project will also include a new building to house the new improved equipment.  The project is estimated to cost 14 million dollars, and will need final approval by the board of mayor and aldermen. We expect to award the bid in August 2015.

See plans for plant upgrades here The City will continue to pull the same amount of water from the Harpeth River as per our permit issued by TDEC. The City can only withdraw what the State permit allows and is heavily regulated.  The City abides by all regulations required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In the past five years our withdrawal average is only 1.15 percent of total river flow.  We do not withdraw during times of low flow nor when the dissolved oxygen is less than five milligrams per liter.

Some organizations may argue the need for the upgrades to this plant, the question of buying all our water from HVUD, and possible harm to the Harpeth River.  This is simply not the case as we have stated above.  In a July 2015 determination letter from TDEC regarding their approval of our water withdrawal permit they stated the following.


“The Division determined that the proposed withdrawal rate at 20 percent (maximum the city can withdraw) of the flow in the river would NOT result in an impairment of the uses designated to the Harpeth River…”


“The Division continues to concur with the applicant that there is some benefit in maintaining and operating a secondary source of municipal water supply, if it can be done in a sustainable manner that protects the resources designate use”


‘This statistical analysis, when applied to the Harpeth River, showed NO difference in fish species between withdrawing 10 percent or 20 percent of available flow…”

Note: The City’s five year average withdrawal is 1.15 percent of total flow.

See the entire July 2, 2015 Notice of Determination letter, the technical justification of the City’s withdrawal permit, here.

What are the costs to treat the City’s Water compared to the water the city purchases from the Harpeth Valley Utility District?

From an economic standpoint, the City has consistently produced water at a lower cost than it purchases water from its outside resource.  Cost analysis will be performed once the city receives the construction bid in August for presentation to the board.

Why is it important for the city to have diversified water sources? Why not just buy our water from Harpeth Valley Utility District?

Having diverse water sources helps protect the community in the case of emergency/ natural disaster.  The City experienced this directly during the 2010 floods when we were able to bring our treatment plant back online quickly while others in middle Tennessee struggled for an extended period of time.  Franklin is fortunate to have more than one source of drinking water.  In 2014, communities like Toledo, Ohio, and communities relying on the Elk River in West Virginia that lost drinking water service for extended periods of time due to issues outside of their control.  The City is seeking no change to its current water withdraw permit.  In fact, the design for the upgraded water treatment plant provides for a maximum withdrawal from the river that is less than the existing permit.

The City of Franklin water and wastewater utilities are heavily regulated.  The City consistently outperforms permit requirements and performs at a very high level.  We do not rest on that record but are continuing to build enhanced, state-of-the-art facilities to serve our growing community and to protect the Harpeth River.