Harpeth advocates dispute Franklin's usage for drinking water - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Harpeth River advocates dispute Franklin's usage for drinking water

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There's a fight brewing over a popular Middle Tennessee river and what should be disposed of in its waters.

A group dedicated to keeping the Harpeth River clean wants the amount of treated wastewater reduced, but city leaders in Franklin argue that water is cleaner than the water already in there.

"The water we put back in that river is cleaner and in better condition than what we take out," said Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey.

"That's the biggest fallacy - the craziest statement. A sewer plant can never remove everything, and some people have probably heard about the new emerging contaminants of concern: hormones in rivers that are feminizing fish, not all the industrial chemicals that go in can be taken out," said Dorie Bolze, with the Harpeth River Watershed Association.

Folks with the Harpeth River Watershed Association say Franklin violates state water quality standards by allowing so much treated sewage into the watershed.

That's not the only argument about the Harpeth River. The amount of water the city takes out of the river is also disputed, as the state has told the city to take out five percent less than it is now.

The city has appealed that order.

"We just want to see the data related to our river that shows us and want to work with it from there, so we're not asking to change anything. We're wanting to see if there are valid reasons to change the arrangement that's been in place for many years to this point," Stuckey said.

Harpeth River Watershed Association, which removed the final dam from Williamson County, believes the city can survive by taking out less water and putting less water back in.

"The river is really a wonderful amenity in downtown Franklin, and the parks department, we've been working with them to add the canoe accesses. There's a lot of interest in the Harpeth and recreating," Bolze said.

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