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Tennessee Clean
Water Network

123A S. Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Office: 865-522-7007
Fax: 865-329-2422

Our Programs

Building the River Movement in Tennessee

TCWN assists Tennesseans facing threats to their clean water. At TCWN, we have two principle objectives:

• To advocate for stronger state policies that result in more effective protection of Tennessee water quality and
• To assist Tennesseans facing local threats to their clean water

We have state, federal and local laws that say our water must be kept clean. These laws can be effective tools to protect our waters and our communities, but the laws are only effective if they are enforced. This is where community groups are most importantly. We have learned that residents must join together to make their concerns heard, hold polluters accountable and force government to take action.

What we do.

TCWN can provide a few different services to communities including:

Information (what the clean water laws are and how they work)
Organizing assistance
(developing a plan and message and materials) and
(With other groups and experts who can help you in the course of your campaign).

We plan to hold yearly conferences to bring together groups for a day of information sharing and networking.

Our goal is to provide community groups and local leaders with the organizing skills needed to wage effective campaigns. We provide this training through visits to a community beginning with an Introductory meeting to discuss the problem to determine how we can help. Following agreement, we may begin formal consultations.

In addition to formal trainings we can also help with records search, filing water pollution permit appeals and formal complaints with TN Department of Environment and Conservation.

The trainings we offer include:

  • Planning a Winning Campaign. The first and most essential step to addressing any problem, your group will clarify goals, figure out the process for solving your problem, brainstorm specific steps to take and develop a timeline for action.
  • Effective Message and Materials. Your group will develop a simple and compelling message and materials that can be used when talking to other residents in your community, the media, as well as elected and government officials.
  • Building Your Group. Your group will develop a plan to start, build, and maintain an effective and efficient neighborhood organization.
  • Making the News. Your group will develop a plan to publicize your issue in the media through events and building relationships with reporters.
  • Fundraising to Win. Your group will develop a plan to raise money through building a membership, holding fundraising events, and/or grant writing. 
  • Winning at Public Hearings. Your group will develop a plan to win at an upcoming public hearing including plans to galvanize public support and prepare testimony.

What we don't do.

We are not scientists or lawyers. But, we can provide you with access to them.

We work with groups and with communities, not individuals. In our experience, most pollution problems are political in nature and power in #'s is what will give you the chance to win.

We do not create a plan and run a campaign for you. We are here for you from beginning to end until you reach a satisfactory solution. You are the community experts and you know your community. We are here to provide you advice and advise you on the best options to reach your goal!


TCWN understands the importance of working collaboratively with a variety of partners to fill empty niches and to strengthen the likelihood of positive outcomes. These efforts improve our ability to act as a “network” for clean water issues in the state, as well as build recognition of our organization and our leadership on these issues. TCWN will make it a priority to maintain existing partnerships and broaden our network to include a diverse set of allies.

Tools for Success

  • Start a community group

  • Stormwater Monitoring: Investing just 24 hours per year, you can make a difference in your community. Take 55 minutes every two weeks to drive around your neighborhood or past your favorite stream, and report flood conditions or clean water violations to the Tennessee Department of Environment (TDEC) or the local authorities. You may see mud flowing off of a construction site; one stream, ditch or drain discoloring a stream or lake; or other Clean Water Act violation just driving to and from work. You can do something about it.

    Sediment and nutrients from construction sites and agriculture are the leading pollutants of our rivers and lakes. TDEC and city and county authorities are responsible for protecting the quality of our water and the safety of our communities. These agencies do not have the resources to visit many of the construction sites in your area. Find tools for stormwater monitoring here.

  • Permit Watch: The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for issuing permits for activities that may degrade water quality. While your city and county officials are responsible for some portion of the enforcement of these rules and local ordinances, the state and federal governments issue permits. You can influence what is legally allowed under a permit by commenting before the permit is issued.

    Investing one day every two weeks to look at the permit announcements on a web site or through the mail, you will know what activities are planned in your neighborhood or near a stream or lake that is dear to you. If you would like to know more about watching permits, click here.

  • Contact state and local officials

  • Support Policies that Protect the Resources We Value

  • Calendar of Events

If your community is struggling with a water pollution problem, contact 865-522-7007. Together, we can make a difference!


Our Programs