Wednesday, August 20 2014, 09:13 PM EDT
City's Waste Resources Division Taking The Blame For Major Fish Kill
In April of 2013, Chattanooga's Waste Resources Division was given $250 million to make improvements to its treatment facilities.
One of the pumps on the list, off Juandale Trail in East Chattanooga, malfunctioned before crews were able to replace it. Failure in the pump's control system led to sewage backup, resulting in a major fish kill. The Waste Resources Division is claiming responsibility for the incident.
"Oh, absolutely. This pump station was built in 1978, we have repaired the control system which was responsible for this overflow," says Director of Waste Resources Division, Alice Cannella. "We are watching it very closely. We're looking at what can be done in the interim as a backup system until the upgrade takes place."
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says the incident killed 23 species of fish. It was 5,500 fish total, that was a cumulative amount over a 3-mile stretch."
Cannella says they've spent days ensuring this won't happen again.
"We took immediate steps to rectify the situation and get South Chickamauga Creek back to its regular condition.
The TWRA is now conducting an analysis to see how much it will cost to replace the thousands of fish killed last week. Brown with the agency's Aquatic Habitat Protection says it could be the city footing the bill to replace the fish. However, it's still too early in the investigation to tell what kind of consequences they could face.
"At a minimum, we'll ask for restitution for replacing tons of resources, i.e. the fish," says Brown.
The pump that malfunctioned is on the list to receive improvements in Phase I of the city's plan to repair all treatment facilities. Many of those projects are already underway.
By: Kelsey Bagwell