Monday, October 31, 2016
2nd Appeal Filed on US Nitrogen Permit
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Charging that the drinking water supply for thousands of Eastern Tennessee residents is in jeopardy, a local resident is asking a state board to overturn the decision granting a permit to US Nitrogen to discharge millions of gallons of water into the Nolichucky River.
In a 10-page letter to the Tennessee Board of Water Quality, Oil and Gas, Park Overall said that in her county alone some 16,100 residents rely on the river for drinking water.
The appeal seeks to overturn the decision by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to grant a four year permit to US Nitrogen to use the river water in their manufacturing process and discharge most of it back into the river.
Citing past pollution problems in the waterway, Overall wrote, "This river cannot handle anymore. Cumulative effects are literally killing us."
Overall's is the second appeal to be filed challenging the decision to renew US Nitrogen's permit. Stan Olmstead of Jonesborough, Tenn. filed a similar appeal earlier this month.
In her filing, Overall charged that the flow rates used to justify the permit were not taken at the proper location and TDEC failed to take into account the effect of drought conditions.
She also charged that the decision leaves it up to US Nitrogen to report flow and use rates rather than having an objective independent monitoring system.
"We no longer trust US Nitrogen or their data," the appeal states.
Calling the large volume of water US Nitrogen is using "unconscionable," Overall wrote, "Clearly TDEC only intends to accommodate US Nitrogen with no afterthought for this community."
"The recklessness with which US Nitrogen is treating us is no longer tolerable," she added.
The appeal requests that the state board hold a public hearing on the issue.
"TDEC went from being our protector to our worst nightmare," she concluded.