The District’s Environmental Program is primarily focused on three issues: air quality, watershed protection/water resources, and solid waste management. The Environmental Department staff also responds to a variety of other environmental issues facing local governments within the District.
The FTDD coordinates the efforts of the Ozone Action Partnership for Northeast Tennessee. The goal of the OAP is to educate local governments, businesses and industries, and the general public about the importance of reducing ozone levels in our region. The OAP works to inform citizens about the negative impacts of high ozone levels from an economic and public-health standpoint. The OAP is responsible for initiating the first Ozone Action Day program in the State of Tennessee. The Ozone Action Day Program alerts the public on days when ozone is forecasted to be at or near levels of concern to sensitive individuals.
Forecasts are determined by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and are forwarded to the OAP. Alerts are distributed to the public through local radio and television outlets. Individuals can also receive a daily air-quality forecast from the EPA by visiting their website and clicking on the online subscription link at the bottom of the page.
The EPA and State of Tennessee monitor ozone and other air pollutant levels in our region and across the country to determine compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Areas are determined to be in “attainment” (in compliance) or “non-attainment” (non-compliant). According to the EPA, every county in the District is in “attainment” with the 2008 ozone standard.
Solid Waste Management
The Development District has been providing solid-waste technical assistance to local governments since 1991 in accordance with the Tennessee Solid Waste Act. Through an annual grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the District has assisted communities with grant writing, project administration, educational programs, planning and facilities dealing with solid waste, recycling and waste reduction.
Since 1991, cities and counties have received millions of dollars in grant funds and technical assistance. Grants fund a variety of projects and capital improvements throughout our Region. These include:
- Recycling equipment
- Used oil collection/recycling containers
- Used oil heaters
- Convenience Center construction
- Waste-reduction projects
- Educational programs
- Waste tire collection and recycling
Staff also work with each county and Regional Solid Waste Planning Board to complete an Annual Solid Waste Progress Report which is submitted to the State in March each year. These Reports identify the amount of solid waste and recyclables generated in each county, each year.
The Solid Waste Management Act requires each region/county in the State to divert or recycle 25% of the total waste generated in the region/county. You can find more information on Solid Waste Management guidelines, programs and grant applications on the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation's website.
The First Tennessee Development District has a long history in water-quality projects, which includes watershed protection and stormwater management. The District participates in several watershed alliances/partnerships throughout the area. These include the Boone Watershed Partnership, Beaver Creek Watershed Alliance, and Sinking Creek Watershed. Over the last several years, we have successfully obtained grants from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to develop watershed implementation plans and conduct water-quality monitoring projects. We have received over $200,000 since 1997 to implement these projects, primarily in the Boone Watershed. In August 2010, we completed a watershed implementation plan for Cash Hollow Creek in Washington County.
The FTDD has also worked with communities and counties in our District to identify stormwater-related issues. The FTDD received a $60,000 grant from the from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation through the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This project was designed around green stormwater infrastructure technology. Green infrastructure technology identifies the problem and then works toward a solution. Due to fluctuations in topography, soil structure, etc., each stormwater issue has a unique solution tailored to a specific problem.
If you are interested in additional information about the District’s Environmental Programs, or any of the specific areas of work, please contact Chris Craig at (423) 928-0224.