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.

 


East Tennessee Dove Season Opens With A Bang

With shotguns in hand and hats shading heads, over 1,000 East Tennessee hunters harvested nearly 5,000 doves on fields leased or owned by TWRA during Tuesday’s opening of the mourning dove hunting season.  Dove hunting on opening day is a longstanding tradition in the state as hunters brave the dust and heat with hopes of filling their bags with a limit of 15 birds.  ... (click for more)

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: *Tour by Bicycle: An Environmental History of Chattanooga  September 15 Join Outdoor Chattanooga and the  Chattanooga History Center  for a leisurely-paced,  guided bicycle tour along the Tennessee Riverwalk  on  Tues., September 15 , from  6:30 to 8:30 p.m. ... (click for more)

Crowd Packs Lindsey Street Hall For Presidential Candidate Rubio

A Chattanooga crowd packed the Lindsey Street Hall for presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Thursday afternoon. Former Congressman Zach Wamp, the statewide Rubio chairman, helped build the frenzy with a spirited introduction. "I believe in him 100 percent," he said of the 44-year-old junior Florida senator. The candidate stepped onto the stage of the former church just after ... (click for more)

Mississippi Couple Injured In Tragic Wreck At Ooltewah Exit Asking $1.5 Million In Damages

A Mississippi couple who said they suffered severe injuries in the June 25 wreck at the Ooltewah exit of I-75 in which six people were killed are suing for $1.5 million. John and Nancy Stanley, of Braxton, Miss., filed suit in Federal Court in Chattanooga. They are suing the driver of the truck that plowed into eight vehicles, Benjamin Brewer, as well as the owner of the truck, ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response (2)

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Every Child Must Watch This

In the course of my day, I read different websites, am sent all kinds of neat videos and I love the jokes I get. But when I logged onto my ever-bulging email account Thursday morning, I happened across the scariest, most terrifying video I have ever watched. There is a website I check called “Atchuup” that boasts “cool stories daily.” Some are pretty good but this one nearly knocked ... (click for more)