Time is ticking for the city of Morristown to identify ways to improve their waste water treatment facility.
In June, a power outage led to 1.25 million gallons of untreated waste spilling into Cherokee Lake. It was the second time in as many years a severe weather knocked the plant off-line.
Now Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation has set a January 17 deadline for city officials to come up with a plan to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The Cherokee Lake Users Association tests water quality regularly.
"During the summer months, every month," said John Karwowski, CLUA Co-President. "We're looking for E-Coli and coli-form counts."
He said since June those levels have been up.
The plant has two sources of power, each supplied on the same set of power lines. A fallen tree took them out simultaneously June 19. Now the city is looking for solutions to prevent future outages.
"One way may be a generator, we're also looking at another possible feed, a power line going to the plant," said City Administrator Tony Cox.
T-DEC also ordered the city to update its public notification policies when it comes to sewage spills. They have until December to do so.
"It's happened twice in two years, which is enough to raise the red flags that we need to do something else," Cox said. "We're taking it seriously, and we'll have a backup plan in a few months."
Cox said they won't have a problem meeting the January 17 deadline.