Environment And Conservation Reissues Recreational Water Contact Advisory For Portion Of New River In The Big South Fork

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has reissued 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, due to operational failures at the Huntsville, Tn., wastewater treatment plant.  TDEC issued a similar advisory in March 2012 and rescinded when the treatment plant’s performance returned to compliance.

The public is cautioned to avoid recreational uses of this portion of the New River, which is downstream from river mile 14.8.  The advisory pertains to all water contact activities such as kayaking, swimming and fishing. 

The Huntsville plant’s membrane filter process is experiencing mechanical problems, resulting in reduced levels of wastewater treatment.  Because of the proximity of the discharge to the Big South Fork National Recreation Area, the department made the decision to issue the advisory.  Huntsville, its consultants and the filter supplier are working together to restore the ability of the facility to adequately treat wastewater and meet water quality standards.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is providing oversight and technical support to the impacted system and will continue monitoring water quality closely.  When the risk to public health has been eliminated, the advisory will be lifted.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, illnesses can be caused by germs that are spread by swallowing or having other contact with contaminated water.  These illnesses can cause several types of symptoms, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections, but the most commonly reported is diarrhea. Even healthy swimmers can get sick, but the young, elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk.

If water contact cannot be avoided, or if you are unsure of the cleanliness of the water you have contacted, the best thing to do is wash with clean water and soap.  Ingestion of contaminated water and exposure to open cuts or scrapes would be the greatest cause for concern from a health standpoint. 

Once the sources of bacteriological contamination are eliminated, there should be no long-term environmental impacts to the river. 


USDA Seeks Help In Testing Wildlife For Rabies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services is asking for the public’s help as it works to determine the frequency of rabies in southeastern Tennessee raccoons.  Anyone who encounters a raccoon that is sick-acting or behaving unusually is asked to report the animal. No raccoons in Tennessee have tested positive for the raccoon variant, or variety, of rabies ... (click for more)

Tennessee State Parks Celebrate National Public Lands Day

In recognition of National Public Lands Day, Tennessee State Parks, along with Friends Groups, invite the public to take part in hikes and volunteer activities across the state on   Saturday, Sept. 27 . This year’s theme is “Helping Hands for America’s Lands.” Each of the 55 Tennessee State Parks will have scheduled hikes and volunteer opportunities. For each park’s ... (click for more)

EPB Says "Close To A Wash" On City Street Light Billing

EPB President Harold DePriest denied Wednesday that EPB owes the city over $1 million on street light billing. He stated,  “EPB has never said that we owe the city $1.2 million. When all the facts are taken into account, the financial difference is close to a wash.” Mr. DePriest said, "I regret that this complicated issue has been oversimplified in some reports. As we’ve ... (click for more)

New Red Bank Zoning Ordinance Is Ready For Review

The new Red Bank zoning ordinance is ready for review, City Manager Randall Smith said Tuesday night. It can be seen on www.redbanktn.gov and the link to zoning regulations. The new ordinance will replace one that was created 30 years ago.    The plan will encompass both residential and commercial development and is intended to direct ... (click for more)

Why So Much For A Rail Study?

From the things that make you go hmm department. Ok, so the feds are giving us $400k and the city is kicking in another $300k for a total of $700k to do a study on having in town rail service. Why so much for a study? Don't get me wrong, I'm totally down with Chattanooga having some passenger trains running around. I get that. It's awesome. We've needed it for a long time. I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: I’m Certainly No Expert

Sometime on Monday night, after I had written a piece on getting swatted with a switch as a kid, I got an email from ESPN Canada asking if I would be a televised guest on “Off the Record,” the most watched daily sports show in Canada. The subject: corporal punishment in America. Are you kidding me? I am hardly an expert. All weekend my world of sports and its excitement was warped ... (click for more)