Subject:        TN Clean Water News #13

    Date:         Mon, 16 Apr 2001 10:11:35 EDT

   From:         [email protected]

     To:            [email protected]

 

 

 

 

April 16, 2001

 

Inside this Issue!

 

1.  NEWSFLASH - VICTORY - State Denies Permit for Cove Branch Dam  

2.  NOTICE - 305(b) REPORT RELEASED- Report Reveals Water Quality Status Unknown for 60% of TN's Waters

3.  NOTICE - PUBLIC WATERSHED MEETINGS - TDEC Water Quality Assessment  Meetings to be held 

4.  LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - TN CONSERVATION VOTERS - Environmental Bill Summaries

5.  TAKE ACTION - JOIN A WORKGROUP - Clean Water Network Workgroups: Enforcement, Feedlots, Wetlands, Wet Weather/Funding, and TMDL

6.  ANNOUNCEMENT - WHAT'S A RIVER WITHOUT WATER? - Managing River Flows for Biodiversity: A Conference on Science, Policy and Conservation Action

7.  PUBLIC NOTICES - QUICK LIST FROM TDEC -Pollution Permits for Proposed Facilities and Modifications

8.  RESOURCE - WETLANDS WEBSITE - The Wetlands Regulation Center

 

 

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1.  State Says No to Cove Branch Dam!:

Thanks to pressure from TN Clean Water Network, TN Citizens for Wilderness Planning, Tennessee Paddle, American Whitewater, local paddling groups, and local citizens, (exerted through letters of opposition and an enormous turn out at the public hearing in January), the state has denied Fairfield Glade's permit for an impoundment on Cove Branch, a tributary to Daddys Creek in Cumberland County.  Cove Branch and Daddys Creek are tributaries of the Obed National Wild and Scenic River.  Thanks and Congratulations to all who gave a strong voice for the river!!

 

 

2.  TDEC Releases Water Quality Status Report - Some Good, Some Bad, But Mostly Unknown: 

While some communities in Tennessee are enjoying cleaner waters, other waterways remain polluted, posing health risks, eliminating recreational opportunities such as angling and swimming, and hampering environmental protection. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has released Status of Water Quality in Tennessee: 2000, an assessment of the quality of lakes, streams, groundwater, and wetlands across Tennessee in the 1998-2000 period.

 

This report, known as the 305(b) report, is how states report their compliance and progress under the Clean Water Act. According to the report, over 6,500 miles of surveyed rivers and streams and 118,000 acres of surveyed lakes do not fully meet water quality standards. These numbers, however, are based on assessments of ONLY 40% of our state's waters. Almost 36,000 of the 60,000 total river and stream miles in the state have NOT been recently assessed. Sediment from land development, road construction, and agricultural activities are cited as the biggest threats to the state's waters. 

 

For more information, contact Danielle Droitsch at 865 803 4503 or [email protected]

 

Status of Water Quality in Tennessee: 2000 is available at no charge to the public. To receive a copy, call 1-888-891-TDEC.

 

 

3.  TDEC Watershed Meetings:

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is using a watershed approach to address water quality. In order to provide an opportunity for the public to become involved, the approach includes at least two public meetings in each watershed in each five-year cycle. Meeting dates for Group 3 Water Quality Assessment Meetings have been set for the following watersheds (all times are local times):

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South Fork Holston River-(Including North Fork Holston):  4/16/01, 6 pm, Public Library, 400 Broad Street, Kingport

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Lower Clinch River:  4/17/01, 7 pm, DOE Oversight Bldg, 761 Emory Valley Rd, Oak Ridge

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Little Tennessee River:  4/26/01, 7 pm, Vonore Campus, Cleveland State Community College

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For more information, please contact:  David Duhl, TDEC Watershed Coordinator at (615)532-0438  or  e-mail:  [email protected]

 

 

4.  Selected Environmental Bill Summaries from Tennessee Conservation Voters: You can obtain copies of any of these bills via the internet by going to the General Assembly web site at www.legislature.state.us

 

SB 1651/HB 1374 (Elsea/Sands)- the saga of the scenic river bill continues. The Administration was set to take the Caney Fork out of the bill because of concerns over the implications of the Caney Fork's designation on regional water supply issues in that area. An Attorney General's opinion was issued this week that seems to have alleviated many of those concerns.The bill was deferred in the full Senate but was passed out of the House Conservation and Environment Committee. If the remaining concerns are addressed, it is possible that the Senate may vote on the bill with the Caney Fork in as early as this coming Monday.

 

HB 1500/SB 1750 (McDonald/Davis)- this bill has been amended to set up a study commission to examine rural water supply issues. The bill was voted out of the House Conservation and Environment Committee and will be heard by the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee this coming week.

 

SB 1364/HB 858(Jackson/Turner)- brought by Tennessee Conservation Voters; seeks to add additional environmental/conservation representatives to four environmental regulatory boards (Air Pollution Control Board, Solid Waste Disposal Control Board, Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Board and Water Quality Control Board.) The bill was deferred & will be heard this coming week in the Senate Environment & Conservation Committee.

 

SB 852/HB 774 (Norris/Briley)- brought by Tennessee Conservation Voters; seeks to require TDOT to place planning documents on its web site to aid the public in its ability to stay informed on transportation projects. The bill, in an amended form, passed the Senate Transportation Committee and is set to be heard by the full Senate and the House Subcommittee for Transportation and Safety Planning this coming week.

 

HB 538/SB 1513 (Bone/Rochelle)- amends existing law pertaining to rulemaking authority of local water and wastewater authorities. These authorities have certain rulemaking authority and currently have to submit their rules for the approval of TDEC. Most of these rules have nothing to do with water quality issues, i.e. billing practices. The bill removes the requirement that rules need TDEC's approval but makes it clear that regulations of the Water Quality Control Act have supremacy over local regulations. This bill was passed by the House Environment Subcommittee and the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee. It will be heard by the House Conservation Committee this coming

week.

 

For more information, contact Bill Fischbein at [email protected] or 615 297 0543

 

 

5.  Want to Help?  Join one of National Clean Water Network's Workgroups:

                        Enforcement Workgroup

 

The new White House has already been asked by the Environmental Council of the States (a group representing State environmental commissioners) to dissolve the EPA‚*™s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and shift responsibility for enforcement and compliance to other EPA offices. Members of the workgroup have good reason to be concerned that the Bush Administration will take significant steps backwards in enforcing the Clean Water Act.

   

Later this year, the Clean Water Network will help U.S. PIRG release its report detailing significant noncompliance at major facilities across the United States. The Network hopes to release additional reports on clean water enforcement during the next two years and are taking suggestions from Network members about the focus and scope of these reports. 

    The enforcement workgroup is collecting enforcement success and horror stories to help make the case for stronger enforcement. If you have a great story or if you would like to join the enforcement workgroup, contact Richard Caplan with U.S. PIRG at 202-546-9707 or [email protected]

 

                        Feedlots Workgroup

Feedlot workgroup members will focus their energy on influencing EPA‚*™s proposed regulations for Combined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The workgroup is working on a set of comments to submit to EPA, as well as talking points for individual organizations to use as models in crafting their own comments. The deadline for submitting comments to EPA is May 14, 2001.

 

The workgroup will continue to implement its strategic work plan, focusing on our four main campaigns: 1) requiring pollution control permits for livestock factories; 2) requiring environmentally sound and humane systems for livestock production; 3) implementing and enforcing the existing law; and 4) educating the public. For more information or to join the feedlots workgroup, contact, Melanie Flynn at NRDC at 202-289-2393 or [email protected]

 

                        Wetlands Workgroup

This year the workgroup will work to fill the hole in the Clean Water Act left by the recent Supreme Court decision on isolated wetlands through a number of mechanisms, including sharing state-level legislative strategies for providing wetlands protections through our section 404 listserve. In addition, the workgroup will seek increased funding for wetlands  conservation programs in upcoming appropriations bill and the reauthorization of the Farm bill.

For more information or to join the wetlands workgroup and listserve, contact CWN‚*™s Ami Grace at 202-289-2421.

 

                    Wet Weather/Funding Workgroup

Keep Raw Sewage at Bay and Fund Cleaner Waters! At Clean Water Week, this workgroup discussed the latest policy developments in storm water, Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), and infrastructure funding. The workgroup also talked about the need to increase awareness about "green solutions," like rain gardens and buffers, as Congress considers proposals to increase funding for clean water and drinking water infrastructure.

 

The workgroup is urging Administrator Whitman to publish the recently proposed SSO rule. The workgroup will develop comments once the rule is officially proposed, including comments to improve the costs/benefit section of it. The proposed rule can be found at www.epa.gov/owm/rulmakef/htm. Please to go the action alert on CWN‚*™s web site at www.cwn.org  and send a letter to Whitman. 

 

 Workgroup members will continue to address CSOs by commenting on guidance and making sure appropriate monies are provided to cleaning up CSOs. The workgroup has also created a list of principles for infrastructure funding which is on the Network‚*™s web site at www.cwn.org  under Wet Weather. For more information about these rules or to join the workgroup, please contact Nancy Stoner with NRDC at 202-289-2394 or [email protected]

 

                            TMDL Workgroup

The TMDL workgroup participted in a feedback session on the Network‚*™s new TMDL Development and Implementation Campaign. The campaign areas that prompted the most interest and discussion were the TMDL toolkit and trainings. The TMDL toolkit will focus on materials that can be produced nationally, but tailored to local conditions. It will include a basic guide to TMDL review, a guide to debunking industry attacks on the program, experts list, and more. The Network‚*™s TMDL trainings are currently focused on the policy and technical issues surrounding TMDL development. The group expressed interest in expanding trainings to include media work and other special interest areas. 

 

Follow up discussions on these and other campaign issues are happening on the TMDL listserve. Join today! The first version of the toolkit should be out in late March or early April. Watch for its release on email and in this newsletter. TMDL trainings are on-going ‚*” one was held in Mississippi in mid-February and a second was held on March 10 in Iowa. Contact Merritt Frey at 208-345-7776 or [email protected] if you are interested in a hosting a TMDL training session in your state.

 

 

6.  What's a River without Water?  Conference for River Activists, scientists, and Water Managers: American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy and other non-profit organizations and federal agencies announce "Managing River Flows for Biodiversity: A Conference on Science, Policy and Conservation Action" in Ft. Collins, Colorado, July 30-August 2, 2001.

 

Protecting natural river flows is a challenge that grows as competing demands for river water grows.  This four-day conference will provide river conservationists with new knowledge, tools and networking opportunities to advance flow restoration and protection goals.  Built around case-study symposia and field trips, the conference will

- Build understanding of the conflict between meeting ecosystem needs and human demands for water, both in terms of water quantity and quality;

- Showcase the latest science concerning the in-stream flows required to protect biodiversity;

- Provide a look at current policy concerning regulation and management of water quality, quantity and use; and

- Involve participants in reviewing case studies that address inherent conflicts and potential solutions.

 

The case studies include: Upper Colorado River Basin, Missouri River, Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, Sacramento/San Joaquin BayDelta System, Klamath River, Zion National Park, Trinity River, Beaverkill River, San Pedro River, Roanoke River, as well as examples from Brazil and Africa.

 

The conference is open to 350 attendees from diverse professional and academic backgrounds. Early registration ends May 1.  For more information about travel stipends, please contact [email protected] .  To register for this conference, please visit www.freshwaters.org/conference

 

 

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. Brownsville Lagoon, (proposed new issuance), treatment of municipal sewage, to discharge to South Fork Forked Deer River mile 30.6 in Haywood  County, permit no. TN0075078

2. Bartlett STP No. 1 (proposed modifications), discharging to Loosahatchie  River mile 18.4 in Shelby County, permit no. 0066800

3. Gallatin STP (proposed modifications), discharging to Cumberland River (Old Hickory Lake) at mile 237.9 in Sumner County, permit no. TN0020141

4. White House STP (proposed modifications), discharging to Frey Branch at mile 2.2 in Robertson County, permit no. TN0059404

    

Comments must be received by May 14, 2001.  (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, visit www.state.tn.us/environment/new.htm

 

 

8.  The Wetlands Regulation Center:

This very handy web site links to information on federal wetlands regulations and legislation, court decisions, administrative branch policies, and implementation issues. It is a great resource for anyone working on wetlands policy. Check it out the next time you have questions about federal policy!

www.wetlands.com/regs/tlpge00a.htm

 

 

 

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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 (www.tcwn.org) 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!