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Sustainability, Resiliency, Harpeth River Enhancement Among the Goals of Pilot Project

Franklin—As communities around the nation grapple with the challenges of water scarcity, the City of Franklin is exploring technology that could provide an abundance of purified water for generations to come.

A decade ago, the City developed its Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP), a roadmap for the highest and best use of water resources in Franklin and its stewardship of the Harpeth River. Today, the City’s Water Management Department is testing water purification technology at a new pilot facility in southeast Franklin, with the goal of building a full-scale water reuse facility that would ensure long-term water reliability, enhance the Harpeth River, and drive sustainability objectives well into the future.

“This is innovative for Franklin, but these processes are being utilized across the nation and around the world. They are proven to be safe, sustainable, and forward-thinking, and they position our community well for the future on so many levels”, said City Administrator Eric Stuckey.

In 2012, the IWRP projected future population growth and the City secured land for a new clean water facility, in anticipation of the need for more capacity on the southeast side of Franklin.

Michelle Hatcher, director of Franklin’s Water Management Department says, “As that process has evolved, we have incorporated new technology across the system that makes our treatment facilities more sustainable, more resilient, and more efficient. As we develop the next phase, it makes good sense to continue that focus on the latest treatment technologies.”

As part of the pilot study, Franklin’s water purification demonstration facility is testing and monitoring five processes designed to yield purified water: membrane filtration, ozonation, biofiltration, granular activated carbon, and ultraviolet light with advanced oxidation. These proven processes work together to remove smaller and smaller physical, chemical, and microbial contaminants from the water until it meets the scientific standard for purified water, safe for augmenting drinking water supplies.

The end goals are to increase the amount of water we reclaim and reuse, which makes our system more independent and resilient; to enhance the ecological health and recreational use of the Harpeth River by increasing flows during traditionally dry months; and to supplement drinking water levels in our reservoir, which traditionally has been impacted by usage spikes and reduced water availability in the hotter times of the year. Our expectation is that the purification and reuse of water will provide us with an abundance of clean water that will sustain our community for decades to come.

To learn more about the pilot study and take a virtual tour, go to

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Support Quotes:

“We applaud the City of Franklin for exploring innovative, sustainable approaches to wastewater treatment and reuse. We are grateful for the City’s collaboration with our Division of Water Resources staff on the pilot clean water facility, and we will continue to serve as a resource for the city and its residents as it looks to balance economic growth with protection of the environment.”—Greg Young, Deputy Commissioner, TN Environment and Conservation


“The City of Franklin’s pilot water treatment facility is state of the art. With it, the city has demonstrated its commitment to maintaining and enhancing the health of the Harpeth River while addressing the city’s unprecedented growth. It is heartening to see the city’s thoughtful and thorough process to address the current and future infrastructure needs of the city.”—Mekayle Houghton, Executive Director, Cumberland River Compact


“The City of Franklin is consistently recognized as a community that plans for and invests in its future through solid long-range planning and forward thinking. This is another example, and I applaud the vision of our leadership in ensuring a sustainable future.”—Mindy Tate, CEO Franklin Tomorrow


“The future Clean Water Facility not only makes the new 200-acre Southeast Park possible, but it also presents a tremendous opportunity for community engagement and education around the importance of water to our natural world and the Harpeth River as one of our most cherished assets.”—Torrey Barnhill, Executive Director, Friends of Franklin Parks