Meeting Will Be At Nolichucky Vineyard In Russellville

BY MICHAEL S. RENEAU

ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR

Some area citizens

concerned about US Nitrogen's proposed plans to draw water from the Nolichucky River for use as a

coolant in its manufacturing process, and discharge the water back into the river after use, are

meeting Thursday night.

The meeting will take place at Nolichucky Vineyard, located at 6600

Fish Hatchery Road, Russellvillle, at 7 p.m.

Alex Martin, who operates the family-owned

vineyard, said the meeting is meant to inform more area landowners who have not previously been made

aware of US Nitrogen's plans to utilize the Nolichucky River in connection with its ammonium nitrate

manufacturing process.

The meeting is especially designed to provide more information to

property-owners in Cocke and Hamblen counties. The plant is being built at Midway, in Greene County.

While public notices have been published in Greene County about US Nitrogen's water permit

applications, no such notices have been published in Cocke and Hamblen counties, nor in counties

further downstream the Nolichucky, such as Sevier and Jefferson counties.

Martin also said

the meeting is meant to formulate both questions and statements that he hopes will convince

regulators with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation not to grant US Nitrogen

permits to use the river in connection with its manufacturing process.

"We're not fighting

US Nitrogen," Martin said in a telephone interview Monday. "What we do not support is the water

permit.

"Our goal is not to run US Nitrogen out of Greene County."

Martin raised

concerns at a public hearing last week that increased levels of nitrogen in the river would harm his

vineyard and other properties downstream of where US Nitrogen would draw and discharge water.

US Nitrogen has applied for revised water-use permits that would allow the company to take water

out of the Nolichucky River and pipe it, via state rights-of-way, to its facility on Pottertown

Road.

Most of the water would be used for cooling the plant's chemical processes, treated

on-site, then returned to the Nolichucky River via another pipe. That discharged water would contain

some ammonia.

TDEC officials at the hearing last Thursday said the amount of ammonia that

US Nitrogen would deposit in the river would be too low to affect anything downstream.

Still, some critics of the plan, including environmental activist Park Overall, are not

convinced. Overall is scheduled to be at Thursday's meeting with documentation of her allegations.

Martin said he wasn't sure if anyone from US Nitrogen would specifically be invited to the

meeting, but he said anyone opposed or in favor of US Nitrogen's water plans will be welcome to

attend.

"This [upcoming meeting] is all informational," Martin said Monday. "This is just

an awareness meeting. This is not an argumentative meeting."

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