THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who worked with us in so many ways on the Franklin drinking water withdrawal permitting issue.
TDEC’s permit sets the base flow at twice the city’s proposal (to 10 cfs). The city’s consultants reported last summer that at this base flow, there was not enough water in the river to operate a LARGER drinking water plant economically—it would be idle too much in the summer. A new plant the same size as the current one will also not operate year round during dry years.
TDEC not only set a higher base flow to stay in the river, TDEC is requiring the city to study the feasibility of removing the low head dam. This is the result of our efforts that engaged other agencies who are interested in funding the removal of these low head dams to improve fish habitat and recreation.
TDEC also is requiring the city to establish how they will measure the river’s flow at their withdrawal and install automatic shut-off systems. These and other mechanical issues were all raised by HRWA and experts since the city wanted to use the gages BELOW their withdrawal site as the way to run their operations. Our work this summer showed that the data from the USGS gage BELOW the city’s operations were highly compromised (especially by the excessively leaky city reservoir). This dramatically affected the city consultant’s analyses and made the river look like there was MORE water in it than there really would be.
TDEC also analyzed the affect of withdrawing water on the ability of the river to handle the sewage effluent that the city and two other sewer plants put into the river only five miles down from the drinking water outtake. This is also a big victory for our efforts to connect all the various permitted activities on the river and the next effort with the permits on the sewer plants that are up for renewal.