Tennessee Clean Water Network
625 Market St.
Knoxville, TN 37902
PO BOX 1521
Knoxville, TN 37902
PRESS CONFERENCE: AUGUST 10, 2010 10:00 A.M. CHATTANOOGA PIER
Location – Chattanooga, TN
On August 2, 2010, the Tennessee Clean Water Network issued a 60-day notice of intent to sue to the City of Chattanooga for violating its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant and Combined Sewer System by unpermitted discharges by its West and East Bank Tide Gates; unpermitted Sewer Overflows; exceedances of the maximum E. coli limit; and monitoring and reporting violations.
“The hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage going into Chattanooga Creek and the Tennessee River are staggering. Just this weekend there was a spill that killed thousands of fish.” Said Renée Victoria Hoyos, Executive Director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network. “Chattanooga prides itself on being a green city and they have made great strides in sustainability but attention must be paid to the failing sewer system.”
The notice specifically sites these violations from January 2006 – June 2010:
• 32 discharges totally 319,000,000 gallons of raw sewage to the Tennessee River from the West and East Bank Combined Sewer System outfalls;
• 489 sewer overflows totaling 35,000,000 gallons of raw sewage to streams, streets and private property in Chattanooga;
• 36 discharges totaling 156,000,000 gallons of raw sewage to Chattanooga Creek. Sixty-one thousand gallons were discharged in the first 6 months of 2010.
“We’ve worked out solutions to similar problems with KUB and we are willing to work out a solution so that the people of Chattanooga can enjoy clean water in their rivers and streams,” said Ms. Hoyos. “Though we understand that the current City Administration is working on these problems, recent overflows convince us that current efforts to control this problem are not working. We will not wait any longer.”
TCWN has had success in a similar citizen suit. In 2004, TCWN filed suit against the Knoxville Utility Board that was settled after the United States Environmental Protection Agency intervened which resulted in a consent order. KUB has worked hard to comply with the order and has reduced their sewer overflows considerably.
Untreated sewage can harbor pathogens, bacteria and chemicals that are unsafe. A recent Emory University study indicates that combined sewer overflow systems attract the mosquito responsible for the West Nile Virus. To read the abstract of this study, click here.
If you see a manhole spewing liquid stay clear of that water, wash down your vehicle and do not let children or pets play in that water.
To see the 60-day notice and photos, go to http://www.tcwn.org/cleanwater1