May 28, 2001

Inside this Issue!

1.  NEWSFLASH - TMDL LAWSUIT SETTLED - Tennessee's Dirtiest Waters to be
Cleaned Up  
2.  ANNOUNCEMENT - TN ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS - Tennessee Environmental Council to
Launch Enews
3.  ALERT - TAKE ACTION - Bush Budget will Gut Endangered Species Act
4.  NOTICE - ARSENIC STANDARDS - EPA Delays Effective Date for Arsenic
5.  ALERT - TAKE ACTION - Help Restore Funding to Critical USGS Water Programs
6.  EVENT - CALL FOR PROGRAMS & VOLUNTEERS - Great North American Secchi
Dip-In 2001
7.  PUBLIC NOTICES - QUICK LIST FROM TDEC -Pollution Permits for Proposed
Facilities and Modifications
Opportunities Brochure

1.  Tennessee's Dirtiest Waters to be Cleaned Up:

Conservation groups announced last week the settlement of a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that challenged EPA's failure to require the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to develop and implement an effective program for restoring water quality in the state's dirties waters, as required by the Clean Water Act.  In the settlement, EPA and the plaintiffs agreed to a 10-year schedule for the development of almost 800 clean-up plans for those segments of rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs on the state's current list of impaired waters.

Rick Parrish of the Southern Environmental Law Center, Nashville attorney Joe McCaleb, and Knoxville attorney Danielle Droitsch, the executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network, represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit: the Tennessee Environmental Council, the Foundation for Global Sustainability, the Lumsden Bend Community Group, Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association and the Tennessee RiverKeeper.

A new, enforceable 10-year schedule was adopted as part of the consent decree which was entered in federal district court in Nashville on May 10, 2001.  In addition, EPA agreed to oversee the development of a TMDL-based water quality restoration plan for the Harpeth River from its headwaters to below the
confluence with the West Harpeth.  Along with other pollutants, the Harpeth is choked with excessive nutrients that lead to depleted oxygen in the water, killing fish and other aquatic life. Through the Tennessee Clean Water Network, the plaintiffs will support TDEC and EPA in the Tennessee TMDL
planning and implementation work.

According to the latest statewide water quality report (The Status of Water Quality in Tennessee -- Year 2000 305(b) Report), TDEC has determined that over 6,500 miles of surveyed rivers and streams do not meet water quality standards.  In addition, 118,000 acres of surveyed lakes do not fully comply with water quality standards.  According to the report, the status of 60 percent of the states' waters remains unknown. 

2.  Tennessee Environmental E-News:

The Tennessee Environmental Council is pleased to announce the launching of a new monthly electronic environmental newsletter the Tennessee Environmental News or TEN.  With TEN, we will keep you informed with brief updates on key issues and events across Tennessee. We invite all interested people to visit our website. There you can easily sign-up to receive TEN monthly.

Please forward this notice to anyone who might be interested in this service. We also invite you to send us newsletter submissions on issues or announcements you would like to bring to our attention.  Send your ideas and updates to [email protected].  We look forward to bringing you timely and interesting hot issue information each month. Look for the inaugural edition early in June.

3.  Bush Budget to Gut Endangered Species Act:

The release of the details of the Bush Administration's budget has revealed an attempt to gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA), America's premier wildlife protection law.  The budget contains an extinction rider that will give Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton sole discretion over whether or not imperiled species and their habitat will be protected under the ESA.

Your calls, faxes and letters to your Representatives and Senators are needed now to help maintain a strong ESA to secure the future of America's natural heritage. 

Visit America Rivers  to take action.

Thanks so much for your time and energy.

4.  EPA Delays Effective Date for Arsenic Standards:

Source: River Network's RiverInfo

After previous delays to implement arsenic standards in drinking water, the EPA again delayed the regulations until February 22, 2002. In response to the delay the Natural Resources Defense Council announced their intent to challenge the decision with a lawsuit.

Water Strategist Community

EPA  also has a link dedicated to the arsenic deadline.

5.  Help Restore Funding to Critical USGS Water Programs:

Source: Clean Water Network's CleanWaterInfo

In the President's budget, the U.S. Geological Survey is taking a huge hit in the area of water research. CWN members know that USGS data is often the only long-term monitoring data available in watersheds, and that it is unbiased data that all members of the water community can agree upon. Some
critical USGS water programs will be completely de-funded (the Toxics Hydrology program and Water Resources Research Act program), while other critical programs such as the National Water Quality
Assessment program will take huge cuts. We are sending this letter to the House and Senate Interior appropriations subcommittees. It will include an attachment with ways CWN members have used this data-- thanks to those of you who supplied this to the Network!

Please sign-on to the letter concerning major cuts to USGS water programs by COB Friday, June 1. All sign-ons should be sent to [email protected]. Please send us your name, organization, and state.

June 4, 2001

The Honorable Robert C. Byrd, Chair
The Honorable Conrad Burns, Ranking Member
Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations
Senate Appropriations Committee
United States. Senate
Washington, DC 20510-6033

The Honorable Joe Skeen, Chair
The Honorable Norman Dicks, Ranking Member
House Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies
House Committee on Appropriations
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC  20515-6023

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members,

The XX undersigned members of the Clean Water Network urge the [Senate Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations] and [the House Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies] to fully fund the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Water Resources Investigations for FY 2002 at their current levels. Data generated by USGS water programs is invaluable in our understanding of waters nationwide, and is considered scientifically credible by all sectors of the water community.  Decreased funding of
these well-respected water quality investigations would represent a significant step backwards in our understanding of the nation’s water pollution problems and solutions.

The President’s budget request includes dramatic budget cuts in the areas of water resource assessments and research, water data collection, and the Water Resources Research Act program.  Members of the Clean Water Network are especially concerned about the proposed 32% decrease in the National Water
Quality Assessment program (NAWQA) budget, and the elimination of the Toxic Substances Hydrology program.

These programs are critical to the protection and restoration of waters across the country.  Attached is a list of some of the ways that members of the Clean Water Network, as well as state agencies, have used USGS data to find emerging pollutants, to track long-term water quality trends, and to
meet obligations under the Clean Water Act. 

NAWQA is one of the only federal programs charged with systematically monitoring the status of the nation’s water quality, evaluating trends, and assessing the sustainability of this critical resource. This information, collected in major river basins and aquifers across the country, provides an unbiased scientific basis for decision makers, managers, and planners at all levels of government to address the multitude of water-resource issues related to agricultural and urban watersheds, human health, drinking-water and source-water protection, and many other issues.  Policy makers at the national level need big picture water quality information that is comparable across the country to make sound decisions.  NAWQA provides scientific data needed by federal agencies, states, and local governments to implement the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  A reduction in funding now would halt the collection of new data and cut short plans to conduct multi-disciplinary national analyses addressing topics of national priority.  Cuts in funding would also result in a reduction in the number of study areas, and discontinuities in data, limiting NAWQA’s geographic coverage and the program’s ability to assess impacts on water quality over time.  Many state agencies rely heavily upon data provided by USGS in their daily water quality management activities.

The Toxic Substances Hydrology program provides research on one of the nation’s most disturbing clean water problems—toxic pollution.  Toxic pollution and its sources and movement through watersheds is the focus of this USGS program.  As the only federal program responsible for assessing emerging pollution trends, this program has the ability to provide water resource managers and policy-makers the opportunity to predict future water quality problems.  The Toxics Program is coordinated with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other U.S. Department of the Interior agencies to ensure that current and future federal research priorities are being addressed.  The program has also been integral in providing research on the movement of nutrients throughout the Mississippi River Basin, from which excessive nutrients have caused the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, a swath of ocean 20,000 km2 in area that is virtually void of aquatic life due to nutrient pollution. 

We call on Congress to fund USGS Water Resources Investigations at no less than the FY 2001 enacted level.  These programs are essential to our understanding and management of present day water pollution problems, and are crucial to our nation’s ability to foresee and address future water pollution


Name, organization, state

6.  Great North American Secchi Dip-In 2001:

Contribute to a Snapshot of North American Water Quality, June 30 - July 15, 2001

The Great North American Secchi Dip-In is an annual event, producing a snapshot of transparency in waterbodies across North America.  Dip-In 2001 is our eighth year of gathering transparency information.  Volunteers have contributed more than 17,000 data points on more than 5,000 waterbodies.  We welcome your participation in this international event.  Please help demonstrate that volunteers can be an effective information-gathering network.

The Dip-In is open to any program in any country, whether it monitors rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes or reservoirs that uses a measure of turbidity or transparency.  We accept data taken with a Secchi disk, a turbidity tube, a black disk, LaMotte turbidity test kit, or a turbidimeter.

To participate, enroll your program at our Website ( All volunteers in your program will receive a summary of the Dip-In 2000, whether or not they participated in the 2000 event.

While you are at our site, please visit some of our pages:
        Dip-In Events:  Use the Dip-In as a focus in an event to highlight your own volunteer efforts.
        Volunteer Methods:  A growing guide to volunteer methods.  We welcome your contributions or links.
        Events:  Post your volunteer-related events here.  We are regularly visited by the major search engines; increase the size of your potential audience.
Please contact the Dip-In at:
Bob Carlson
Dept of Biological Sciences   Tel: 330 672 3849
Kent State University             Fax: 330 672 3713
Kent OH 44242                     E-Mail:  [email protected]
See the latest on the Dip-In at:

7.  Public Notices Posted by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation - Proposed Pollution Permits:

Pollution Permits: The Tennessee Division of Water Pollution Control proposes to issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for discharging treated wastewater and stormwater to the following:

1. BAE Systems Ordnance Systems, Inc., treatment of industrial wastewater including coal pile runoff and landfill leachate and domestic wastewater, to discharge to South Fork Holston River, Holston River, Mad Branch, and Arnott Branch in Sullivan County, permit no. TN0003671

2. Lewisburg STP, discharging to Big Rock Creek mile 16.8 in Marshall County, permit no. TN0022888

3. Rogersville STP, discharging to Cherokee Reservoir at Holston River at mile 99.7 in Hawkins County, permit no. TN0020672

4. Elizabethton STP, discharging to Watauga River mile 24.3 in Carter County, permit no. TN0023515

     Comments must be received by June 11, 2001 for Elizabethton STP, by June 25, 2001 for all others listed here.  (Send to Division of Water Pollution Control, 401 Church St., L&C Annex, 6th Floor, Department of Environment and Conservation, Nashville, TN 37243).  Interested persons may also request in writing that the Director of the Division hold a public hearing on any application.

For more information on these and other notices.

8.  EPA Releases New Watershed Training Brochure:

EPA's Watershed Academy has just published an updated EPA Watershed Training Opportunities brochure.  It includes descriptions of the Watershed Academy's training courses, publications, watershed management facilitation services, and web-based training, as well as other EPA training courses and educational materials.  This booklet updates an earlier version, published in 1998.

You may access the new EPA Watershed Training Opportunities online.
Hard copies of this booklet are also available by calling 800-490-9198; please provide the document number EPA 841-B-01-002 when ordering.

Tennessee Clean Water Network E-News

This newsletter is intended to provide a quick look at current clean water issues in Tennessee, in addition to resources available to the concerned citizen.

Visit our website ( to find more detailed information.

Comments and submissions for the newsletter are welcome.  Send to  [email protected]   or to   [email protected].  Thanks for your participation!