TDEC Issues Temporary Water Contact Advisory for North Fork Holston River

Friday, April 28, 2017 | 1:45pm

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) today issued a temporary water contact advisory for the North Fork Holston River in Hawkins and Sullivan Counties. A crane in Weber City, Virginia, fell into the river on Monday, causing damage to a sewer line and resulting in a leak of approximately 30,000 gallons of untreated wastewater per day into the river just a few miles from the Tennessee border.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are issuing a temporary water contact advisory to encourage citizens to avoid any contact with the water until further notice,” said Tisha Calabrese Benton, director of TDEC’s Division of Water Resources. “We have been in close communication with authorities in Virginia, local and state officials in Tennessee, the local water system and private industry as we monitor the situation.”

Authorities in Virginia estimate the repair could possibly take up to 30 days to complete. TDEC officials have begun sampling to determine the extent of the contamination. Sampling results and other factors will ultimately determine the appropriate time to remove the temporary advisory. 

Because the spill occurred in Virginia, TDEC will not have a direct role in the remediation or potential enforcement processes.