Maryville stream

This is a new bridge over Pistol Creek in Maryville, one of the many watersheds that will be part of an ongoing stream survey and inventory of stormwater discharge the city is required to do every five years.

Biologists contracted with the city of Maryville will slosh around the city’s streams in the coming months, making sure they’re healthy and well maintained.

Officials announced this week the city is conducting a stream survey and an inventory of stormwater discharge.

It will see testing take place in portions of the Brown Creek, Culton Creek, Duncan Branch, Gallagher Creek, Lackey Creek, Laurel Bank Branch, Peppermint Branch, Pistol Creek and Springfield Branch watersheds.

This process is one of several requirements necessary for Maryville to obtain its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Phase II permit, the city said in a news release.

The goal is to gain a better understanding of the health of Maryville’s streams and make improvements where necessary.

Maryville Stormwater Program Manager Dale Jayne said by phone Friday this testing is necessary for “entities” classified as having more than 10,000 residents but less than 100,000.

Sampling for this project will test for bacteria like E. coli, Jayne added. “One of the things (biologists) do is they collect micro- and macro-invertebrates,” he said. “Based on the species they find, that’s what helps them determine the quality of the water.”

He said he expects water quality in these areas to be similar to what it was in 2017, the last time this project went through.

Since then and over the past 15 years, Maryville laws and discussions have helped put regulations and controls in place that ensure the health of stream areas — called “watersheds.”

Those controls can help prevent stream disruption that happens over time, for example, with development near a watershed.

“In some cases they can’t even develop adjacent to the creek,” Jayne said.

Maryville Public Services Director Angie Luckie also emphasized projects like this one aren’t about helping the city grow. “It’s a (regulatory) requirement for us to ensure that things aren’t getting worse,” she said.

Fall is an ideal time to start the work of assessing the stream since foliage is going away. While it’s like that, biologists will scour for bank erosion, pipes running into streams or areas that need to be restored.

Come spring 2022, they’ll sample watersheds.

All this will require documentation, according to the city, and that includes some photography.

The city emphasized that these scientists — there will be at least two — are working only to record the condition of the streams. They’re not there to “remedy or address any potential problems,” the news release states.

This is the fourth time the city has undertaken a streams survey. Previous surveys were done in 2007, 2012 an 2017.

Residents who want to know more about this project can call Jayne 865- 273-3512 or email dfjayne@maryville-tn.gov.

Follow @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter for more from city government reporter Andrew Jones.

Andrew joined The Daily Times in 2019 and covers city government and breaking news.

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