The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has lifted a recreational water contact advisory for the lower portion of the New River, including a section within the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
The advisory, which included all boating, swimming and fishing, was put into place on March 22 due to a disinfection failure at the Huntsville, Tn., sewage treatment plant. The Huntsville plant’s membrane filter process experienced issues on March 21, resulting in reduced levels of wastewater treatment.
In addition, one of the three vacuum pumps failed, while two needed major maintenance. Alternative disinfection procedures have been put into place in the event of future incidents and all vacuum pumps have been repaired. TDEC will continue to provide oversight and technical support to the facility.
In response to the recreational water contact advisory, water samples were collected by TDEC’s Division of Water Pollution Control and National Park Service staff at locations along New River and the Big South Fork.
Samples collected between March 22 and April 2 indicated these waters of the state meet water quality criteria for recreation.