City Crews Use Aeration to Help Third Creek

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Crews Use Aeration to Help Third Creek

Posted: 04/23/2012
Crews with the City of Knoxville Public Service and Stormwater Engineering departments have created an aeration system in Third Creek to help manage mulch runoff and improve conditions for fish that have been affected by the fire at Shamrock Organic.

The City is working with the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation on the aeration process that is pumping oxygen into the creek at two points.

The mulch fire and runoff have released material into Third Creek, causing a reduction in the water's oxygen content. To push oxygen back into the water, crews drilled holes in PVC pipes and weighted them down below the water's surface. Air compressors were then brought in to push air through the pipes, creating a turbulent effect -- like blowing air through a straw into your drink to make bubbles.

"This is just a partial solution, but we want to do everything reasonable to keep pollution in the water to a minimum," said David Hagerman, professional engineer with the City's Stormwater Management. "TDEC came out this morning and was very appreciative of what we were trying to do and offered suggestions, but there will need to be a permanent containment system in place onsite once the fire is extinguished."

The mulch fire began Sunday and is now manageable, though firefighters continue to concentrate on hot spots. City resources have been used to haul debris away from the site, which will result in normal brush collection schedules being suspended for the next week. Residents should place yard waste out for collection, but it might be two to three weeks before it is collected. Managers in the field are tracking needs and routing resources as needed.

Also at the aeration site, the City is pumping mulch water runoff from East Fork Creek onto grass, where it may increase oxygen and reduce debris before flowing back into the creek.