While WaterWays has worked with the Town of Signal Mountain on projects for many years, in 2020 we were awarded a grant to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Middle Creek and Shoal Creek watersheds. What does that mean? Since those streams are on the state’s dirty streams list (303 d list) because of pollution from E coli, sediment, and acidic mine drainage, our goal is to reduce those pollutants. To begin our work, it was important to get a full picture of the scope of the problems before implementing treatments.
We have consistently tested the water quality and evaluated mine sites since the project’s beginning. Recently, UTC grad student Michelle Sidwell joined the team. Michelle is doing more frequent analyses, including testing heavy metal levels from the old mine seeps found around Fruedenberg Creek. We have also started planting trees with members of the community to reduce erosion and improve the mine areas that were recently reclaimed by TDEC. In addition, many homes in the watersheds have been certified as RainSmart for reducing runoff from their yards. We have preliminary designs for the treatment of runoff from two abandoned mines which will be installed after approval by the landowners and permits received. Furthermore, septic system remediation in the Bee Branch watershed will soon be starting!