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Research & Economic Development

Annual Results

The Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) distributes an annual survey of Tennessee wastewater treatment utilities (only those that are legally allowed to handle 0.1 million of gallons or more of water per day [mgd]) to find out which ones were using water conservation and water reuse practices. A survey like this is important to Tennessee as it faces strong pressures on its water resources from human use.

You may also view the results from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Web site at The wastewater reuse survey is found in the "Helpful Links" box in the bottom right corner.

This year's reuse highlight is on the City of Franklin. Please see the below write-up, outlining the City's practices.

In 1992, the City of Franklin became one of the only cities in Tennessee to reuse wastewater at its treatment facilities. With a reuse capacity of 6.0 million gallons per day, the Franklin Water Reclamation Facility provides reclaimed water to more than 40 customers, including homeowners, golf courses, and local businesses for irrigating purposes for $0.97 per 1,000 gallons of water.

According to Juan Davis, superintendent, the Franklin facility underwent a major plant upgrade in 2004 to keep up with the population growth. “Right now the facility has a 12 million gallon capacity for wastewater.”

Average flow from the facility in August 2012 was 4.36 million gallons per day, with 2.61 million gallons per day being provided for reuse.

“During the dry months like we had this summer, more people used reclaimed water,” Davis said.

In February 2004, the City of Franklin officially created a Reclaimed Division, through Title 18, Chapter 4, of the Franklin Municipal Code. Through this Code, construction standards, regulation and fee structures were established. The Reclaimed Division—comprised of personnel from the Wastewater Collection Division, the Water Distribution Division, and the Water Reclamation Plant—estimates demand on reclaimed water and makes plans for meeting the future demand. Construction of a transmission line in the Goose Creek portion of the service area and in the west side of Franklin in the vicinity of Downs Boulevard and Jim Warren Park are all part of that long-term planning.

According to a water use survey performed during the Integrated Water Resources Plan process, “the existing and probable reclaimed water demands are estimated at 520 and 670 million gallons per year, respectively, totaling 1,190 million gallons of estimated demand per year, or an average of 3.3 million gallons per day. The City should be able to meet reclaimed water demand through 2040 with the projected wastewater effluent flows. Potential upgrades for the reclaimed water system include upgrade of the reclaimed water pump station.”

By instituting these reuse practices, the Franklin Water Reclamation Facility is abiding by the City of Franklin’s Water Reclamation System Mission Statement, which is “to effectively manage our water resources in a safe and beneficial way that conserves natural water supplies and recycles highly treated wastewater in an environmentally responsible manner and to ensure a dependable and sustainable water supply for the citizens of Franklin.”

Residents of the City of Franklin as well as the environment benefit from these conscientious reuse practices. Not only is the demand for potable drinking water decreased, but the discharge from the City’s wastewater treatment systems is also decreased. Reuse also leads to more water available for irrigation and industrial uses without having to use precious raw resources.

“Water recycling is a critical element for managing our water resources,” said Felecia Marcus, former EPA Regional Administrator in Region IX. “Through water conservation and water recycling, we can meet environmental needs and still have sustainable development and a viable economy.”

The City of Franklin’s Water Reclamation Facility is innovative not just through its water reuse practices. It also has become involved in ultraviolet disinfection techniques that are safer than traditional chlorine disinfection. Davis, who is in charge of the UV disinfection part of the operation, says that the UV is more expensive to operate, but in the long run, it saves a step in the disinfection process because the operators now don’t have to remove chlorine before the water is discharged into the Harpeth River.

“We have some of the tightest limits on our effluent in the State,” Wayne Davenport, assistant superintendent, said. “Our discharge is closely monitored and highly treated. We discharge into the Harpeth River, which is a very important resource to the City of Franklin.”

The Water Reclamation Facility is also increasing its environmental consciousness through its incorporation of energy-saving techniques. The facility is responsible for almost half of the City’s electric bill, but according to Davis and Davenport, the wastewater facility is instituting techniques, like modifying operations and schedules and by using more energy efficient equipment such as light bulbs and motors to lower that consumption.

“In October at the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and EPA Region 4 held an event to celebrate the efforts by the City of Franklin and six other utilities in Tennessee who participated in an energy efficiency partnership. The City of Franklin has saved around $194,000 on electricity since we have started focusing on these issues,” Davis said.

Not only is the City of Franklin’s Water Reclamation Facility a pioneer in water reuse, but it is also forging a path in overall environmental awareness.


The wastewater influent enters the facility here 60 feet below ground.


The wastewater travels through the oxidation basins.


The wastewater is distributed into the clarifiers.


The resultant biosolids are transported about 100 miles one way, 20 tons per load.


Shown is the ultraviolet disinfection system.


Highly treated effluent discharged into the Harpeth River.


Because the wastewater is discharged into the Harpeth River, the Franklin Water Reclamation
Facility has some of the tightest quality limits in the State.


Shown are the reuse pumps that divert flow to the reclaimed water distribution system throughout the City of Franklin.


The effluent discharged into the Harpeth River from the Franklin Water Reclamation Facility
appears to be cleaner than the actual river.