published Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Faulty wastewater pump blamed for South Chickamauga Creek fish kill

City of Chattanooga Public Works officials have determined that the fish kill on a section of South Chickamauga Creek this weekend resulted from the backup and overflow of a sewer pipeline near the creek bank. An earlier email from Alice Cannella said the city's Public Works Department was alerted about 6:30 p.m. Friday of dead fish in a section of the creek.

Due to stream currents, the largest area of affected fish is now between Harrison Pike and Amnicola Highway.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency worked with Public Works to discover the cause. A large wastewater pumping station experienced loss of pump controls which caused the backup.

There is no estimate yet on the quantity of fish affected, but the mechanical failure has been corrected and there is no impact on local residents, Cannella said.

The section of South Chickamauga Creek affected is generally inaccessible by all but very small watercraft due to the shallow depth and low pipeline crossings.

Once the source was corrected Friday, Public Works began efforts to clean and restore the quality of the water. Aeration equipment is being used to restore the normal oxygen content of the water.

Stay with the Times Free Press for more details as they develop.

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