CWEET awarded grant to start stream monitoring project on the Nolichucky River.

StreamMonitoringWorkshop4Jun11     CWEET is proud to announce that we have been awarded a grant by Patagonia to start a stream monitoring project on the Nolichucky River.

We are currently accepting applications for volunteers interested in committing  to a year-long project. Applications can be found by clicking here: stream monitoring volunteer application


A recent article written about CWEET’s new grant and stream project.


Clean Water Expected in East Tennessee, started by raft guides in response to pollution on the Pigeon River, has received its first grant to start a stream monitoring project on the neighboring Nolichucky River. The grant was awarded by Patagonia, an outdoor gear and clothing company based in California. Clean Water Expected in East TN (CWEET), pronounced “sweet”, requested grant funding from Patagonia after the controversial wastewater discharge permit was issued for US Nitrogen, a manufacturer of liquid ammonium nitrate, a substance used in the production of explosives.

Although US Nitrogen held its groundbreaking ceremony in February of 2012, the company has encountered multiple setbacks as citizens from Greene, Cocke, and Hamblen Counties have rallied to stop the construction of what some residents are calling a “pollution” pipeline. The controversial pipeline will allow for withdrawals of fresh water from the Nolichucky to be returned back to the river polluted with state-accepted levels of nitrogen, ammonia, and nitric acid. CWEET is concerned about already existing levels of Nitrogen in the Nolichucky River from nearby agriculture and believes that US Nitrogen’s effluent may add consequences for endangered mussels and biological life downstream of the pipe.

According to CWEET’s community organizer Amelia Taylor, “US Nitrogen is owned by Austin Powder, a company that contracts to literally blow up mountains using an environmentally devastating coal mining practice called mountaintop removal. This company is not concerned about the well-being of the Nolichucky River or the residents along its shores; they are concerned about one thing, their profit margin.”

CWEET is currently seeking a limited number of volunteers to commit to one years participation in the water quality monitoring project. Volunteers will be trained to conduct a biological index of the river’s macroinvertebrate population and to properly capture chemical samples. The training will be led by Asheville, NC’s Environmental Quality InstituteStream Monitoring Information Exchange, which has been gathering data on various rivers and streams in the region for the last 10 years.

CWEET’s director, Deborah Bahr, believes that this project highlights the need nationwide for independent water quality monitoring as most industries are permitted to conduct their own monitoring and reporting. Deborah said, “Recent disasters such as the coal ash spills in North Carolina and Tennessee rivers and the Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia underline the degradation of our nation’s waters by corporate profit. What’s to say that US Nitrogen won’t have an accident of the same caliber? Almost every stream in the United States is polluted before it leaves the county where its headwaters begin, and that is a shame. What kind of future are we leaving our grandchildren? We need to work together to stop this.”

CWEET will be accepting applications until March 15 for volunteers interested in participating in the stream monitoring project. The application can be found on their website at and more information can be obtained by calling the non-profit at 865 453 8535.



Float the Nolichucky A Party to Celebrate and Protect the River



Don’t let the Nolichucky become another Dirty Bird!

An event to raise awareness about US Nitrogen, an explosives company that hopes to build a pipeline to take FREE water from the Nolichucky River and return it back polluted.

August 17th

Nolichucky Vineyard  6600 Fish Hatchery Rd   Russelville, TN

Float Trip 2-6 PM

Afterparty 6-8pm

Bring your own tube, kayak, or canoe.  A limited number of tubes will be available for sale at the event.

A limited number of Raft Rides, PFD’s (life jackets), and tubes for sale will be available at the event.

Afterparty will feature music, food, and crafts for sale.

This event is free!

All floaters will meet at Nolichucky Vineyard where we will gear up, go over a safety talk, and ride a shuttle 3 miles upstream where we will put-in and then float down to the Vineyard for the afterparty.

All floaters will be required to wear a life jacket and sign a liability release form. A safety talk and trained river guides will be on the float trip!

Wear shoes!
Old sneakers, sandals with a heel strap, or water shoes are recomended. Bare feet or flip flops are NOT recomended!

This trip has been organized by Clean Water Expected in East Tennessee, The Birdhouse, and Nolichucky Vineyard to celebrate the beauty of the Nolichucky and to raise awareness about US Nitrogen, an explosives company that hopes to obtain free water from the River and return it back polluted.

Come out to support our cause to protect the water and call for US Nitrogen to be required to purchase their water from a public utility, which was the companies original plan when they were give permission to locate in Greene County, TN rather than get FREE water and FREE right of way to pollute our beautiful Nolichucky RIver!

More questions? Call CWEET at 865 453 8535

US Nitrogen denied right of way to build pollution pipeline…

Click on the link below to see a letter written by Tennessee Department of Transportation denying US Nitrogen right of way to build a pollution pipeline for withdrawals from and pollution releases to the Nolichucky River (for now).

Its not too late to Save the Noli !

Visit the Greene County group Save the Nolichucky here:


Save the Nolichucky

Did you know that a chemical company is hoping to dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of contaminated water into the Nolichucky River?Check out Save the Nolichucky to learn how you can help.

The public comment period has been extended until May 3o and your comments could help prevent the permit from being granted to US Nitrogen.

US Nitrogen originally agreed to haul their waste off site when they opened last year. Now they want to dump all their waste into our Nolichucky River which flows into Greene, Cocke, Hamblen, and Jefferson Counties.

A form letter that can be mailed or emailed or that you can use to write your own can be found here


Public Official Comment from CWEET on the NC Triennial Review

Clean Water Expected in East TN
966 Yellow Breeches Rd
Cosby, TN 37722

Connie Brower
DENR/Divison of Water Resources/Water Planning Section
1611 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1611
Fax: 919 807 6497

Dear DENR and Ms. Connie Brower,

Clean Water Expected in East TN, a non profit organization formed by river guides to address pollution on the Pigeon River, is writing to submit comments based on the Triennial Review for water quality standards in North Carolina.

CWEET members are directly affected by pollution on the Pigeon. During summer months river guides are subjected to the Pigeon’s toxic waters on a daily basis. Cocke County, TN has now endured 104 years of pollution from Blue Ride Paper Products mill in Canton, NC.

The state of North Carolina had determined that Blue Ridge Paper Products mill is still not meeting narrative water quality standards for color, odor, foam, fish palatability, and full body contact to allow for recreation, a public right, on the Pigeon River.

The Pigeon’s waters still remain, on many days, brown, foamy, smelly, and foul. River guides experience itchy rashes and other ill health effects that may be contributed to the mill’s effluent.

A health impacts study of the Pigeon, to have been carried as specified in the 1998 Settlement Agreement between Champion, EPA and NC DENR, out under oversight of the EPA, is long overdue, and should include a study of rashes and other health effects patterns observed by raft guides, who are frequently immersed in the waters downstream of Blue Ridge Paper.

Blue RIdge Paper Products has advocated that the color variance for the mill’s effluent be dropped based on the fact that the mill would like to be in compliance with water quality standards. EPA Region 4 has recently determined that the mill’s Color Perception Study was not effective in determining a basis for removal of the color variance. While color variance’s are an agreement to accept the continued impairment of a water body they are not intended to be granted for perpetuity. The Blue Ridge Paper Products color variance has now been granted since 1988, a total of 26 years.

While CWEET would like to see the Variance dropped, its members will not accept removal of the Variance until Blue Ridge Paper Products shows significant improvements to pollution reduction in each permitting cycle. Additionally, Blue Ridge Paper Prodcuts should be required to include a review of all technologies able to reduce pollutants from discharges and a schedule for progress of that implementation. If there is failure to make such improvements the variance should be removed and permit revocated.

Additionally, the narrative standards by which NC measures water quality are ineffective and ambiguous. Dr. David Moreau, Chair of the EMC, repeatedly pointed out during the October, 2001 variance hearing for Blue Ridge Paper Products, that it is functionally impossible to judge the need for a variance, or progress toward its removal, without a numerical standard for color.

CWEET would like for NC to adopt a numerical color standard that complies with the EPA’s Gold Book standard to not exceed 25 color units, a number far smaller than true color units seen at the NC/TN State line today.

CWEET is tired of NC permit writers abject abandon to make significant improvements in water quality through each permitting cycle. Mr. Sergei Chernikov’s 2009 permit essentially allowed the mill to put more effluent into the Pigeon RIver than is the current average for the industrial facility. This makes no sense and does not follow along with the goals of the Clean Water Act or NPDES permitting system.

For the sake of all downstream users, river guides, drinkers of water, and the future of all humanity (including your own children and grandchildren) who will need drinkable, fishable, swimmable water to maintain life on the planet, CWEET implores the NC DWQ to implement a numerical color standard for the State before addressing removal of the color variance. Once the numerical standard is in place, the mill should be required to implement available technologies including oxygen based bleaching processes that would significantly reduce toxic effluent to the Pigeon’s waters.

Thank You,

Clean Water Expected in East TN

Deborah Bahr, Director
Amelia Taylor, Community Organizer
Katy McCracken, Treasurer
Maria Guzman, Board Chair
Mitch Buhr, Board Member


Movie night this Saturday!

The Hartford farmers market along with cweet is hosting a movie night Saturday October 12 at 7:30 pm located in downtown Hartford TN at the wildwater pavilion on river road. We will be watching Ingrediants : the local food movement takes root.

come out and enjoy!