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Go Fish

Things at the Jonesborough wastewater treatment plant are about to get a little fishy.
“What we’re trying to do is raise some fish here at the plant,” said Hugh Thomason, Jonesborough’s director of environmental services.
Thomason said the plan is to siphon off a portion of the effluent from the wastewater plant, the water that goes into Little Limestone Creek, and create a home for some different types of fish in three 500-gallon tanks.
“We’re still in the conceptual stage,” Thomason said, and the project is contingent on approval from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which also had to approve the project, saw the plans on its annual inspection visit to the wastewater treatment plant and gave it the go-ahead.
The fish would likely include fathead minnow, perch or bluegill-type fish, and maybe some catfish, Thomason said.
The species could change, depending on what TWRA has to say about native species in Little Limestone Creek. TWRA will also have to let the plant know if they can put the fish back into the creek, which is also a goal of Thomason’s.
“We don’t want to overpopulate. That throws the ecosystem out of balance,” Thomason said. “Whatever we do, we’ll keep it on the small scale.”
One benefit of the plan is that the Town will know how well its effluent sustains aquatic life, Thomason said.
The fathead minnow is what is used to bio-monitor the effluent in independent labs, so it’s a good “barometer” to how the plant is functioning, he said.
He may start out with a dozen or so of each fish species, and see how that population grows from there – if they are able to reproduce under those circumstances, he said.