TDEC Announces Lifting Of Little Pigeon River Water Contact Advisory

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announces the lifting of a water contact advisory of the Little Pigeon River, downstream of Sevierville in Sevier County.

Water contact advisories have also been lifted for several small tributaries to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon, including Gnatty Branch, Baskins Creek, King Branch, Roaring Fork and Holy Branch. The remaining water contact advisories on the West Prong Little Pigeon River, plus Dudley Creek and Beech Creek, will remain in place while additional pathogen testing is performed during the summer of 2014. 

“I am pleased to announce that due to the efforts of many people in Sevier County, including state, county, municipal governments and the National Park Service, many of the long-standing water quality issues that led to the original advisory have been resolved,” Mr. Martineau said. “As a result, water quality is greatly improved and the department no longer considers the contact warnings to be necessary. Progress continues on streams that need additional improvement.”

The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act requires that the department 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 1993, elevated fecal coliform levels were found in the Little Pigeon River downstream of Sevierville, the West Prong Little Pigeon downstream of Gatlinburg and within Pigeon Forge, plus multiple tributaries. The sources of the bacteria were thought to be, depending on the location, overflows from municipal sewage treatment facilities and collection systems, failing, improperly-sited and concentrated septic tanks and the direct connection of household wastewater to streams. 

Once these problems were identified, local city and county officials took the lead in identifying and resolving problem areas. The City of Sevierville upgraded their sewage treatment plant and moved the outfall from the Little Pigeon River to the French Broad River, a much larger body of water. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg worked to locate and eliminate improper sewer connections and leaks from pipes. State and county officials walked streams to look for “straight pipes” of household wastes into streams and to spot septic tanks in need of rehabilitation. 

Since some impacted portions of the West Prong and its tributaries were within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the National Park Service was very active in the process to plan and implement the monitoring of pathogen levels. With assistance from the City of Gatlinburg, the Park Service worked with the Dudley Creek Stable concessionaire to install a new wash rack for the horses and connect it to the Gatlinburg sewer system. In addition, they moved a one-mile section of riding trail away from Duds Branch. 

An event will be held April 29, at 4:30 p.m. in Sevierville to celebrate the lifting of the water contact advisories. The event, which will be attended by Commissioner Martineau and local officials from Sevier County, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the National Park Service, will be held at the Sevier County Fairgrounds in Sevierville.  In case of rain, the event will be moved to the red barn located at the fairgrounds.

 


Rizer, Talicia

Talicia Rizer, 46, of Chattanooga, passed away Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at a local health care facility. Survivors and funeral arrangements will be announced later by Willis Funeral Home, Inc., Dalton. (click for more)

2016-17 TWRA Winter Trout Stocking Is Underway

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced its 2016-17 winter trout stocking schedule. TWRA plans to release approximately 90,000 rainbow trout into Tennessee waters from December through March. The program provides numerous close to home trout fishing opportunities for anglers during the winter months. These fisheries also provide a great opportunity to introduce ... (click for more)

Tennessee Members Of Congress Urge President To Approve Federal Disaster Assistance For Tennessee Counties

Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation on Saturday urged President Obama to quickly approve Governor Haslam’s request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Tennessee to help five Tennessee counties impacted by wildfires and severe weather in November rebuild and recover. “Governor Bill Haslam has submitted a request for Public Assistance and Individual ... (click for more)

Grohn Says Integrity And Ethics Lacking In Berke Administration

Mayoral candidate Larry Grohn criticized controversies and instability coming from the mayor’s administration as a sign of unethical leadership and a lack of integrity. He said, "These scandals lay out the simple fact that it is time for new leadership which is accountable to the people." Councilman Grohn’s criticism comes after the independent auditor’s release of a memorandum ... (click for more)

New School Funding Ideas

After reading the article “County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding,” I could not help but think about how helpful it would be to have the millions of taxpayer dollars given the owners of Walnut Common apartments to build some new schools.   In case you did not know, since 2008 our elected officials have given away millions in taxpayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Facebook Starlet

The Pants Store, a toney women’s boutique in Birmingham’s Mountain Book community, held its annual Holiday Open House about a week or so and, as usual, the popular store was full of customers and holiday cheer. It was a festive gathering, fun for all, but as store employees cleaned up for the next day, they happened across an empty designer-shoe box and a brassiere somebody had ... (click for more)