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Harpeth River Watershed Association Analysis of Franklin’s Water Withdrawals Confirmed by State

12/22/2014

See  http://www.harpethriver.org/programs/waterquality/dwps for details or contact HRWA for documents.

pdf of press release

Nashville, TN (December 22, 2014)–On December 11, the TN Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) issued a revision letter to its mid-November Commissioner’s Determination stating that it was in error and that the analysis provided by the Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA) was correctly based on the City of Franklin’s own data of daily amounts of water withdrawn from the Harpeth River.  

HRWA is encouraged that TDEC recognized that HRWA’s six-year analysis provided important insight on the need to accurately measure the Harpeth River’s flow at the withdrawal point so that the City of Franklin can be confident they are operating in accordance with the permitted water withdraw limits. 

HRWA is also encouraged that with this communication TDEC also states that it will schedule a meeting with the City of Franklin, HRWA and the Southern Environmental Law Center to “clearly define the method for determining and reporting compliance with the permit limits.”

“This is a very simple but important issue.  The City and the State need to know how much water is in the Harpeth at the point and time where the City withdraws … Period.” states Matt Dobson, President of HRWA’s Board of Directors.

“The current situation is like relying on a broken speedometer in your car and not fixing it so you can’t be accused of knowing that you’re speeding, when in fact you are,” explained Kevin Bonin, HRWA’s Environmental Policy Analyst and Regulatory Attorney.

TDEC’s revised letter also states that “TDEC found far fewer instances of non-compliance,” and that “Franklin was in substantial compliance with its permit limits for the months TDEC evaluated.”  However, TDEC evaluated only four months of “pumpage data” for their determination while HRWA analyzed six years of the City’s data going back to when the permit was issued and found problems each year during low river flows. 

The Harpeth River, as it flows through downtown Franklin, has been determined by the state to be impaired for fish and aquatic life.  In November, 2007, TDEC further determined that the city of Franklin’s water withdrawals for its drinking water plant cause degradation of the Harpeth.