TDEC Lifts Water Contact Advisory For Little Fiery Gizzard Creek

Friday, May 17, 2013
Shown, from left to right, are Senator Janice Bowling; Dr. Richard Urban (TDEC); John Christof, South Cumberland Trail State Park Manager; Tracy City Mayor Larry Phipps, TDEC Deputy Commissioner Dr. Shari Meghreblian; Monteagle Mayor Marilyn Nixon; and Representative Charles Curtiss.
Shown, from left to right, are Senator Janice Bowling; Dr. Richard Urban (TDEC); John Christof, South Cumberland Trail State Park Manager; Tracy City Mayor Larry Phipps, TDEC Deputy Commissioner Dr. Shari Meghreblian; Monteagle Mayor Marilyn Nixon; and Representative Charles Curtiss.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has lifted a 13-year water contact advisory for Little Fiery Gizzard Creek and several of its tributaries in the Tracy City, Tn. area of Grundy County.  TDEC Deputy Commissioner Dr. Shari Meghreblian presided over Friday’s ceremonial “de-posting” announcing the advisory lift and was joined by Senator Janice Bowling, Representative Charles Curtiss, Tracy City Mayor Larry Phipps, and Monteagle Mayor Marilyn Nixon, along with other local elected officials and members of the community.

 

The water contact advisory was originally issued in 2000 due to operational problems at a small wastewater treatment facility at the Tracy City Elementary School and the presence of failing septic tanks at individual homes. 

“This is great news for Grundy County and today’s announcement is due to the efforts of many individuals and organizations, including both state and local governments, to expand sewer service into areas of Tracy City,” said Dr. Meghreblian.  “Connecting homes, the elementary school and various businesses to the sewer service has resulted in decreased pathogen levels in the Little Fiery Gizzard watershed and TDEC believes the public warning to avoid contact with the water is no longer necessary.” 

The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act requires that TDEC post signs and inform the public when bacteria in water or contaminants in sediment or fish tissue cause public heath to be unduly at risk from exposure.  In 1999, elevated fecal coliform levels were found in Little Fiery Gizzard Creek, a tributary to Big Fiery Gizzard Creek.  The elevated levels of bacteria were of particular concern because of the potential that children could come in contact with these streams within Tracy City.  Additionally, there is a popular swimming area on the Little Fiery Gizzard within South Cumberland State Park, just downstream of the city. 

Additional sampling in 1999 documented that pathogen levels in the state park were safe, but were elevated upstream in Tracy City. Because of this elevated risk, the public was advised to avoid contact with Little Fiery Gizzard and several tributaries within Tracy City and signs were posted in early 2000. 

In response to this public health issue, Tracy City and Monteagle officials accelerated negotiations for a connection between the two cities so that sewage from Tracy City could be transported to and treated at the Monteagle facility.  In 2010, the sewer was expanded beyond the elementary school, and businesses and homes were connected to the new sewer system.  Repairs to existing sewer lines were also completed. 

In 2010 and 2011, TDEC documented reduced pathogen levels in Tracy City-area streams and will continue to monitor the area.  In the meantime, staff has begun the process of removing the posted warning signs in the area. 

Last year, TDEC announced that the seven-year sewer connection moratorium for the town of Monteagle had been lifted due to major improvements made to the town’s wastewater treatment plant and collection system and the town’s ability to meet the requirements of an Agreed Order issued in January 2005. 

In September 2009, Monteagle received $6.2 million through Tennessee’s State Revolving Fund loan program and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars to begin infrastructure improvements.  The project was funded with a 20-year, $3.72 million loan with an interest rate of 1.79 percent.  Forty percent of the funding was in the form of principal forgiveness, which does not have to be repaid.

As a result of this funding and the town’s aggressive and consistent approach to resolving issues, Monteagle began operation of its Wastewater Treatment Plant #3 in December 2011.  With the capacity of 500,000 gallons per day, 90 percent of the town’s infiltration and inflow has been removed from its collection system.  In addition, manholes were replaced and all of the old sewer lines were eliminated. As part of Monteagle’s overall improvements, local plant operators have implemented a Capacity, Management, Operations and Maintenance Plan and a Sewer Overflow Response Plan.  Both Wastewater Treatment Plants #1 and #2 have been removed from service. 

With more than 2,900 employees working across the state, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is a diverse and dynamic department, serving the state by (1) safeguarding the health and safety of Tennessee citizens from environmental hazards; (2) protecting and improving the quality of Tennessee's land, air and water; and (3) managing Tennessee’s 54 state parks, 83 natural areas and a variety of historical or archaeological sites.  For more information about the department, please visit www.tn.gov/environment

 



Citizens Urged To Practice Safe Burning

 The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is observing National Fire Prevention Week ( Oct. 8-14 ) by reminding citizens to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires. The official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is  Oct. 15 .   “It’s important, and required by law from  October 15, 2017 to May 15, 2018 , that ... (click for more)

Archery And Youth Elk Hunts Conclude; Gun Hunt Begins On Saturday

TWRA’s 2017 archery and youth elk hunts are in the books as the final segment begins  this Saturday  on the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.  This final hunt will include gun, muzzleloader or archery equipment for the seven lucky participants who received permits earlier this year.   In its second year, TWRA’s archery only elk hunt ... (click for more)

Ooltewah High's Robin Copp Is State Principal Of The Year

Ooltewah High School principal Robin Copp has been named Tennessee’s 2017-18 Principal of the Year.   Officials said of the second-year principal, "No matter the grade level, she believes in creating student-centered schools, which are first and foremost focused on teaching and learning. To support this model, Copp has instituted a professional learning framework ... (click for more)

City Has Apparently Found Buyer For Chattanoogan Hotel

The city of Chattanooga has apparently found a buyer for the Chattanoogan hotel on Broad Street. A city board will meet next Monday to consider several resolutions. One item before the Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corporation is approving the hiring of the Husch Blackwell law firm "as special counsel in connection with the preparation of a sale and purchase agreement ... (click for more)

Congress Needs To Get Down To Business And The News Media Report Facts

"Pettiness" seems to be the driver of the news continuing into its third week.  When will it stop? I want to make it clear to my friends, this country and abroad, that I have called the President much worse words than "moron" to my best friend, so much worse that I am sure they would not be printed by AOL in the interest of acceptability.  I make no apologies. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT A 34-Point ‘Dog

I can’t remember a time in my life when a University of Tennessee football team has been a five touchdown underdog and this comes at a time when my primary-care physician tells me, “Let’s face it … you are old.” That said, even when I look at myself naked in the bathroom mirror I ain’t as ugly as what I fear will happen in Tuscaloosa this coming Saturday. I can remember the Tide ... (click for more)