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Stormwater Quality Device, Cumberland Avenue Cleanup Aim to Improve Third Creek 
Keep Knoxville Beautiful and the Cumberland Avenue Merchants Association will host the Cumberland Avenue Cleanup event Tuesday, May 22, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., beginning at the Copper Cellar (1807 Cumberland Ave.).

Third Creek Inspected
Chris Howley, Stormwater Engineering Chief, and Patrick Kontovich, Stormwater Engineer, inspect Third Creek

While the bustling, elevated Cumberland Avenue experiences thousands of passers-by daily (even more so on game days), it also serves as a gateway to the lower Third Creek on the west end of the corridor near Alcoa Highway. There, ducks, geese, herons, otters, fish, and turtles make their homes and hunt for food.

Third Creek Greenway, one of Knoxville’s most frequented trails, follows the creek’s route from Tyson Park all the way to the mouth of Third Creek at the Tennessee River. The peaceful trail promises rustling waters, a glimpse at some wildlife, and the chance to greet passing fellow greenway users.

Unfortunately, there’s another site that Third Creek visitors can often witness.

“We frequently have kayakers traveling on Third Creek that report ‘trash islands’ because of ongoing litter,” said David Hagerman, Stormwater Engineering Manager for the City of Knoxville.

In addition to keeping the recent $25 million renovation to Cumberland Avenue shiny and new, organizers of the Cumberland Avenue Cleanup want to raise awareness that litter thrown down on the ground washes into our creeks with the next heavy rain. That litter can then wash into our rivers, which can potentially even wind up in our oceans.

City Engineer inspects stormwater quality device
Inspecting the stormwater quality device off of Cumberland Avenue

As part of the renovation of Cumberland Avenue, the City installed a stormwater quality device that helps to filter litter, sediment, and pollutants before the stormwater routed from Cumberland Avenue is released into Third Creek.

City Stormwater Engineers knew that a stormwater quality device would be necessary for many reasons:
•    Many car pollutants produced by heavy traffic on the corridor
•    Various food-related greases that can come from the corridor’s many restaurants
•    Frequent litter occurring from passers-by and especially game day visitors
•    General construction sediment that is harmful to our creeks and rivers

Stormwater Quality Device

The stormwater quality device has a 10-foot diameter and is approximately ten feet deep. It uses an engineered hydrodynamic separation, similar to the technology of a washing machine where swirling water drains out and the pollutants, sediment and litter remain in the vault.

City Stormwater Engineering staff monitor the system and put in work orders for the device to be cleaned, typically on a routine basis.

City engineers inspect the stormwater quality device.

City Public Service crews then bring in a vacuum truck, suck what’s collected out of the device, and then properly dispose of the waste.

From July 2016 to August 2017, 28 cubic yards (or approximately three dump truck loads) were collected from Cumberland Avenue’s new stormwater quality device.

Trash in device
A peek down into the stormwater quality device. Overflow trash floats on the water's surface.

“Before this unit was installed, all of this would have gone into Third Creek, which contributes to Knoxville’s boating, swimming, and fishing waterways,” said Patrick Kontovich, City Stormwater Engineer.

These numbers are expected to decrease with awareness efforts like this Cumberland Avenue Cleanup, merchant pledges to collect improperly discarded litter around their properties, and increased trash and recycling receptacles along the Cumberland Avenue pedestrian corridor.

To participate in Tuesday morning’s cleanup, visit www.KeepKnoxvilleBeautiful.org.

Posted by On 21 May, 2018 at 5:19 PM