Water Quality Committee Work
Over the years the Water Quality Committee has led many efforts to improve and monitor the water quality of the Tellico Reservoir Watershed. Most noteworthy of these efforts was the effort to improve the effluent from the Madisonville Water treatment plant. This effort took many years, coordination with other government and private agencies, and several court cases.
WATeR has also worked with other agencies to improve agricultural practices to lessen pollution runoff into the lake. These efforts are on-going. Agricultural runoff pollution is significant in this watershed because much of the watershed is located in rural, agricultural, areas.
Perhaps the most critical and unaddressed problem facing the watershed today is residential pollution runoff from the communities that have been built around Tellico Lake. Residents must be educated in how to avoid runoff and must be encouraged to change their lawn fertilizer methods and to grow boundaries that will lessen the runoff.
It can be done.
Information on Water Quality Projects
Riparian Buffer Zone
To reduce nutrient & pollutant loading of Tellico Reservoir, WATeR encourages lakefront homeowners to establish a “riparian buffer zone” along their waterfront.
The September secchi disk visibility in three Tellico Reservoir embayments during 2018 averaged 21 inches less than that measured during WQIC projects in 2016.
Because of pollution issues related to siltation, bacterial counts, and phosphate levels, Fork Creek is classified as an impaired stream on the State of Tennessee’s 303(d) list. Over the past several years, WATeR personnel have been working with stakeholders to identify opportunities for water quality improvement. This included performing water quality sampling to assist TDEC to identify types and sources of pollution.
Baker Creek Project
Since 2010 WATeR has worked with the Blount County Soil Conservation District to improve water quality and reduce pollution in the Baker Creek Watershed.
Bat Creek Project
WATeR did a two year study of sources of pollution in the Bat Creek Watershed. WATeR also sued Madisonville to fix their waste water treatment plant The new plant opened in 2017. And WATeR is currently working to get a grant to help farmers achieve Best Management Practices.
WATeR is working with TVA and local cattlemen to implement better, less polluting, methods for watering cattle.
PCB in the Lake
WATeR has been checking TDEC's PCB data for years. And it is not as bad as it used to be.
Shoreline erosion is usually caused by wind and boat wakes. Erosion can cause land loss, tree falls and increased turbidity.
Water Quality in Embayments
WATeR has done a study to determine if it is safe to swim in Tellico Reservoir. Bottom line, avoid shallow embayments after heavy rains.