Trash continues to be problem at Percy Priest Lake

Trash continues to be problem at Percy Priest Lake (Image 1)

Two things prevail over an extended July 4th holiday weekend: fireworks and water.

Nashville Shores will kick off the festivities with fireworks on July 3, bringing the first of many crowds of people to enjoy the waters of Percy Priest Lake. But the trash left behind by lake visitors is less than festive.

Nashville's News 2 got a shocking look at trash along the banks of Percy Priest Lake from the iReport 2 network.  In June, viewer Brian Oliver snapped a picture along cliffs near Elm Hill Marina. He purposely overexposed the shot to show the trash atop of rocks and inside a crevasse behind him.

On Tuesday morning, News 2 crews found much of the same with aluminum cans and plastic bottles strewn about the shoreline near Percy Priest dam.

Nashville Clean Water Project, a volunteer organization dedicated to the improvement of Mid-State waterways, told Nashville's News 2 the problem is ongoing.

“Priest Lake has persistent and lingering problems, even with our good and diligent work,” Director Mark Thien said in an email.

Since 2008, NCWP has warned the public about the harmful effects trash can have on wildlife, water quality and scenery.

The organization Web site states, “Waste in our waterways has a dramatic impact on the integrity of Middle Tennessee's environment. Cigarette butts, for example, threaten wildlife and aquatic animals that mistake them for food.”

The site goes on to say, “Cigarette butts also contain hazardous compounds such as cadmium, arsenic, lead and nicotine in the filters. Imagine now: Urban streets and storm drains contain millions of these butts, which flow directly into Mid-State waters after mild to heavy rains.”

NCWP is revamping its efforts to keep Percy Priest Lake clean.  Last year, the organization became an official non-profit by gaining federal 501(c)3 status.  By 2014, NCWP will likely change its name to Friends of Percy Priest, much like local advocacy groups Friends of Percy Warner Park and Friends of Radnor Lake.

“We've been working diligently to create programs for youth and adults that sponsors will be excited to support, and in which the public will be eager to participate,” Thien said.

NCWP hosts major cleanup events in the spring and fall, but supports and encourages ongoing awareness and diligence by lake visitors.

The next scheduled NCWP cleanup event is Saturday, September 7.

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