Tennessee river pollution and erosion
Number four in our America's five most polluted river list is the Tennessee River. This river is also know as the Cherokee river, and is a tributary river of the Ohio river, so any pollution problems this river suffers, the Ohio river will most likely suffer it as well. Problems started in 1933 When Tennessee Valley Authority began building dams, restricting the river's free flow. Since then 9 river dams (Wilson, Wheeler, Watts bar, Pickwick dam, Nickajack, Kentucky dam, Guntersville, Fort Loudon, Chickamauga) have been built along the Tennessee river's 652 miles of extension. Dams changed the natural river geography, it's flow patterns, temperature and oxygen level changes.
Studies show that most of the pollutants in the river nowadays, comes from nonpoint source pollution (when there are several pollution source points contaminating the river). There examples of nonpoint source pollution everywhere we look: urban and suburban development reduces the infiltration of water into the soil, wastes from buildings, cars and parking lots as well as inadequate sewage material disposal.
Agricultural practice also contribute to the problem, the excess of nutrients and bacteria, due to manure and animal wastes are only match by the amount of runoff, pesticides and fertilizers wash into the river by the rainfalls. Other issues that the Tennessee river faces are: The coal ash spill, which overloaded the Tennessee river's stream with decades-worth of metal deposits and wastes, all the wrong forestry practices and industrial discharges, that causes erosion and sedimentation, the saturation of metals in the water and thermal pollution. Just as it seems organizations that worried about environmental health have one problem over control, a new one arises. More than a decade ago PCBs and DDTs where banned because they where slowly killing the watershed of rivers all around the world, just when we though everything was going to be fine, one of the latest problems the river is facing was discover: pharmaceutical wastes pollution. In 2008 a study of the Tennessee's water show the presences of small amounts of 13 common drugs such as antidepressants, a medicament to treat high cholesterol, and antibiotics. Although they where found in small percentages authorities are worried because of the long term consequences for animals and humans that need the Tennessee River.