Tennessee Clean Water Network empowers Tennesseans to exercise their right to clean water and healthy communities by fostering civic engagement, building partnerships, and when necessary, enforcing water policy for a sustainable future. Tcwn.org
Local success story: MC Stiles Wastewater Treatment Facility
Local residents brought the foam issue to TCWN's attention.
TCWN did some research. Found out that the City of Memphis had reported more than 1,000 incidences of sanitary sewage overflows (raw sewage released into the river due to various causes like broken pipes, overflowing manhole covers, problems at pumping stations, etc.) within a five-year period.
TCWN got the City, the EPA, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to negotiate and find ways to solve the long-running problems with the plant.
A consent decree was filed in 2012 resolving all issues.
The City plans to install a vortex chamber to eliminate the foam and will also start disinfecting the treated effluent that is released into the river. (The Stiles plant dumps 72 million gallons of treated wastewater into the river every day - Note: I mistakenly said 82 million at today's meeting.)
Sewage treatment plants report the highest number of permit violations of any type of discharger in TN.
TCWN is the only organization in the state that is dedicated to water quality.
Since its creation 10 years ago, TCWN has been responsible for the removal of over 3 billion gallons of sewage from the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers.
TN state law requires that all TN waterways be fishable and swimable.
TN has approximately 60,000 miles of waterways.
The state can only practically monitor about 20% of these waterways every two years.
TN waterways are threatened by pollutants from industry and municipal sewage plants, stormwater runoff, and pollutants and sources from outside TN watersheds. Left unchecked, increased levels of pollutants cause critical local ecosystems to be degraded or lost, which then threatens the health of all TN residents.
TCWN reviews every permit issued to industry to make sure that the permit meets state and federal requirements (TN Water Quality Control Act, Clean Air Act). Staff comments on permits that fail to meet those standards, works with industry and municipalities to resolve issues, and as a last resort, uses litigation to enforce water quality policy.
Water is only a renewable resource as long as we do not pollute it at a faster rate than natural processes can clean it up. Polluted water is not useful for any one or any purpose.
Bringing Tap Back Program:
Blends environmental sustainability with public health outreach by installing water fountains and water bottle filler stations throughout TN in communities with populations that are at high risk of developing diabetes.
TN has the 5th highest rate of diabetes in the US. The program will include an outreach message to encourage people to replace at least one sugary beverage per day with water instead. Doing this can decrease a person's risk of developing diabetes by 22%.
Memphis will be allocated about $40,000 to $60,000 to install fountains and bottle filler stations. In addition, there may be opportunities for locals to design artistic stations to be installed as well.
This program has just started; we're in the process now of scouting sites and finding partner organizations. Installation should begin later this year/early next year.