Army Corps project to protect Tennessee river from sewage

AP Photo/Adrian Sainz

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. — Army engineers have completed a $1.4 million project designed to protect a vital storm sewer channel that runs into a Mississippi River tributary in Tennessee.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that it turned over the project in late March to the city of Germantown, a Memphis suburb. Engineers shored up Lateral D, a channel that runs into the Wolf River in east Shelby County.

Erosion of Lateral D was endangering an important sewage line that runs under it. A channel collapse could send millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Wolf, which runs into the Mississippi in Memphis.

Lateral D runs along woods, businesses and homes in the affluent suburb. Workers installed concrete pads, sheet pile walls and baffle blocks to fight erosion caused by rain.

Col. Mike Ellicott, the Army Corps’ district commander in Memphis, and Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. Ellicott said the project is part of the corps’ shore protection program. He called the project a “job well done.”

A sewage line break in 2016 caused alarm among residents and conservationists in Shelby County. The break sent 50 million gallons of untreated wastewater per day into Cypress Creek and adjoining McKellar Lake, which flows into the Mississippi. The lake was closed for several weeks before the problems were fixed.