Tennessee River Runoff 5K &
Cheers to Clean Water Celebration
On a surprisingly hot day in October, 140 runners, walkers, and craft beer lovers gathered at the UT Gardens for the 2nd Annual Cheers to Clean Water: Tennessee River Runoff 5K! Again this year, the event focused on connecting people to the importance of clean water. We tend to take for granted how essential fresh, clean water is in our everyday lives, so the Cheers to Clean Water event aims to help people recognize that.
The 5K route brought runners and walkers through the University of Tennessee campus and showcased green infrastructure along the way. Participants could see bioswales, rain gardens, pervious pavers, and wetlands throughout the campus. Upon their return to the UT Gardens, guests were encouraged to visit any of the ten breweries that donated their time and beer to the event. Prizes were given out for top runners, individual and team, and for raffle drawings. These prizes were all donated by local businesses and community groups. Guests had the opportunity to join in a river cleanup near the UT Gardens, and children had the opportunity to tour the wetland and make their own native flower “seed bombs” to take home. The event wrapped up with a performance from Check Engine, a local bluegrass band.
Overall, this event raised almost $7,000 for the Tennessee Stormwater Association. $2,100 of that was allocated to the ‘Tennessee River Healthy Watershed Grant,’ which was awarded to Ijams Nature Center for a project that will reduce erosion and stormwater runoff pollution at Ross Marble Quarry.
This summer, select artists painted unique designs on library storm drains in the county. The five branches are Cedar Bluff, Fountain City, Halls, Howard Pinkston, and North Knoxville. On November 16th, Knox County celebrated all the hard work of these artists and awarded the winners. We also had the pleasure of having Knox County Mayor Glen Jacobs present the awards.
For more information about the artists and to view all the designs, go to the Stormwater webpage.
Knox County Stormwater is excited to announce that we are partnering with the Tennessee Stormwater Association (TNSA), as well as several other partners, in hosting the 2019 East Tennessee Development Symposium, March 12-13, 2019! It is a two day event that will be held at the Knoxville Crowne Plaza Hotel with anticipation of 250-300 attendees. It will be an opportunity to network with other professionals that work in East TN in all aspects of the development process to share knowledge, lessons learned, and best practices in the development field.
We welcome Alan Clark and Chuck Wemple from the Houston-Galveston Area Council and John Kosco with the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) as our keynote speakers. Mr. Clark and Mr. Wemple will be talking about the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, lessons learned and how that disaster is impacting policy and planning moving forward in that area. Mr. Kosco works in the Environmental Policy Department at NAHB and will be talking about their perspective on future trends, perceived barriers and common myths about implementing green infrastructure, and recent developments and emerging issues in the building and development world. We also welcome Dr. Anna George, Vice President of Conservation Science and Education at the Tennessee Aquarium, as our closing speaker.
A panel discussion will address regulations and development related challenges in East TN over the next 20 years. A “help desk” supported by local municipal staff will have representatives available to answer any questions the attendees may have about the development process in their jurisdiction. Join us for educational presentations during our technical breakout sessions, as well as, many exhibitors and demonstrations that will fill the exhibition hall!
We are currently looking for sponsors and exhibitors! Please visit the TNSA website at tnstormwater.org for more information on these opportunities and to register. We are looking forward to the Symposium and hope to see all of you there in March!
2017-2018 CAC AmeriCorps members; Knox County Stormwater.
From left to right: Eric Valeriano, Alexis Jenkin, Lisa Cicchetti, Nora Jacobs
The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit is an important part of Knox County Stormwater’s operation. AmeriCorps members helped to make sure that Knox County is preventing pollution from point sources by designing and implementing a training for the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Program and surveying the condition of current stormwater infrastructure. AmeriCorps also performs inspections on campus and participates in a campus wide clean up.
Helped to remove 1200 pounds of sediment from EPW campus
Educated 100 campus employees on stormwater management
Updated the compost program on campus
AmeriCorps responsibilities include conducting screenings and tests to detect pollution in waterways.
Took 70 samples over 30 days to test for bacteria in streams
Screened 18 drainage pipes to detect illicit discharges
The AmeriCorps Team assists with the Adopt-A-Stream Program and attends community festivals to engage with residents. The team facilitates activities that include fun and educational games about water quality, native plant displays, and the Knox County Augmented Reality Sandbox.
Educated 100 students through Augmented Reality Sandbox Demos
Educated 20 students at GIS Day at UT-K
Performed 3 EnviroscapeTM lessons
Facilitated 3 Adopt-A-Stream clean ups, amounting to 505 pounds of trash
Permanent Stormwater Management
Sustainable stormwater solutions are important to the future of Knox County. The Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) addresses drainage issues in residential yards due to stormwater runoff.
Completed 8 designs for ESP sites
Completed a stream bank planting
Jim Snowden Promoted to Senior Director of Engineering & Public Works
Director Jim Snowden sat down with Knox County Stormwater to reflect on the path his career and look towards the future for Knox County Engineering and Pubic Works.
When asked about his education background, Snowden explained that he had always found it easy to communicate with others, but found he was less successful in liberal arts in school. This realization combined with his talent for mathematics lead to him pursuing a degree in engineering. He graduated with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering and later, a Masters in Transportation Engineering. Both from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
He took this opportunity to reflect on his family life. "My family stressed the importance of education. . .I was the first one in my family to go to college."
The combination of his family's encouragement and his education lead to Snowden's first opportunity to work in the engineering and public works field. After graduating, Snowden completed a cooperative work program for the airport authority, where he worked on the public works side and found that it fit his interests.
What is your favorite thing about working in local government?
Transitioning to the present, we asked about his favorite thing about working in local government.
"Being able to quickly fix a problem," Snowden described. "You could take a phone call about a problem they've been dealing with for a long time and in a matter of days make that person better off than before you were there."
What do you wish other people knew about the inner workings of EPW?
Snowden showed a great admiration for the ability of Knox County E&PW staff, and wished that people new how hard they worked.
"We get overlooked. If you're doing your job right, people don't know what you're doing."
When friends or family find out you work at Knox County EPW, what do they say or ask you?
"I work for the county. I don’t want to put any air under what I do."
Snowden explained that the best complement he ever received was when he was told, “You are the same now as you was 20 years ago,” when he started working with Knox County.
What do you do when you’re not working?
"I don’t have another hobby other than family. Life’s too short. I used to golf and ride four wheelers, but now I just have time to hang out with my daughter, she’s ten."
Roseberry Creek is located in the rural area of Northeast Knox County and is currently on the 303d list of impaired streams for E. coli from human and animal sources. To help reduce E. coli levels from these sources, Knox County applied for and received a 319 grant for $144,000 for this watershed to cost-share with residents to repair septic systems, hook-up to sewer (if available) and to install agricultural best management practices (BMPs) on farms, where needed. The cost-share is at 75% for septic/sewer and is at 85% for agricultural BMPs. The Roseberry Creek 319 grant is a three-year grant that is currently in year two and is set to expire in March 2020. Knox County still has funds available to help residents in this watershed. For septic or sewer inquiries, please contact Knox County Stormwater Management at 215-5540. For agricultural inquiries, please contact the Knox County Soil Conservation District at 523-3338 x 3. For more information on the Roseberry Creek Grant, go to our website at https://knoxcounty.org/stormwater/rbc_watershed.php.
Stock Creek – Phase II
Stock Creek is located in the rural area of South Knox County and is currently on the 303d list of impaired streams for E. coli from human and animal sources. To help reduce E. coli levels from these sources, Knox County applied for and received a 319 grant for $115,000 for this watershed to cost-share with residents to repair septic systems, hook-up to sewer (if available) and to install agricultural best management practices (BMPs) on farms, where needed. Knox County has received 319 grant funds for this watershed in the past and had great success in reducing E. coli levels in Stock Creek. In light of that success, Knox County decided to apply for more 319 funds in hopes of removing Stock Creek from the 303d list and thus, Stock Creek – Phase II is set to begin in the spring of 2019. It will also be a three year grant ending July 31, 2022. Knox County is waiting on an official start date for this grant, but if you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to call Knox County Stormwater Management at 215-5540.
On February 23rd, please join Knox County Stormwater in the 250K Tree Day through the Tennessee Environmental Council. “250K Tree Day 2019 is the largest community tree-planting project of its kind in America, during which 25,000 volunteers will plant up to 250,000 native tree-seedlings in all 95 Tennessee counties, plus bordering counties in Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama on February 23, 2019. These trees planted will enhance our environment and communities for generations to come (Tennessee Environmental Council).”
Again this year, Knox County Stormwater is a hosting site for seedling pickup at John Tarleton Park, located at 2447 Sutherland Avenue on February 22nd between 9a and 5p, and February 23rd between 9a and 11a. You can register for trees by visiting www.tectn.org/250ktreeday.html. You can choose from Tulip Poplar, Eastern Redbud, Northern Red Oak, Loblolly Pine, Short-leaf Pine, Eastern White Pine, Common Persimmon, Wild Plum, Black Cherry, Flowering Dogwood and Washington Hawthorn…wow! Please join us in an effort to make history once again by planting trees across the state!
A recent study performed by Dr. Andreas Fath found that the Tennessee River has 16,000 microplastic particles in every cubic meter of surface water.; that is 80 times more than similarly developed rivers in China and Germany.
Knox County Stormwater will launch a campaign to highlight these dangers for local communities in January 2019.
Visit our website at knoxcounty.org/stormwater to learn more about our programs and where to get your questions answered. Visit our Facebook page to keep up to date on all the latest happenings on the streams of Knox County.
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