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Town leaders aim to get Little Limestone Creek off list of polluted streams

In hopes of one day getting Little Limestone Creek off the state’s list of polluted streams, town leaders agreed to more extensive water testing in 2013.
The town is required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to monitor the water quality of Little Limestone Creek as part of its stormwater program.
TDEC, however, only requires the town to test the stream once a year for e coli in five different areas within a 30-day period.
At the Dec. 10 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, members voted to increase both the number of locations where the testing takes place and what is being tested for in the creek.
Town Administrator Bob Browning recommended the additional testing, saying it would be more useful when comparing data from past samplings.
“As we continue to do this annual sampling, we will have comparison data over a substantial period of time,” Browning explained in his report. “It is possible for us to work on measures to improve water quality… and actually get the section of the creek through our city limits taken off the state’s 303D list of polluted streams. In order to do this, we will have to have the comprehensive data, not just e coli.”
For approximately $8,500, East Tennessee State University’s Department of Environmental Health will conduct comprehensive testing of standard water quality parameters at eight locations on Little Limestone Creek five different times during a 30-day period.
Analysis includes determination of e coli, alkalinity, hardness, nitrates, phosphates and biochemical oxygen demand.
In addition to having a recorded history of the water quality, Browning said the comprehensive testing has another valuable aspect.
“It identifies sources of pollution before it gets to the Wastewater Treatment Plant,” he said, noting that potential problems may be caught before they become bigger problems.
Alderman Chuck Vest made a motion to approve the more comprehensive testing. It was seconded by Vice Mayor Terry Countermine and unanimously passed.
A date for the testing to begin has not yet been set.