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Improper use and management of pesticides, herbicides and hazardous materials can threaten the waters of Fort Campbell.




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Drinking Water

The water management program has several pollution prevention initiatives in effect to prevent the contamination of Fort Campbell's drinking water, to reduce contamination at the waste water plant, and to ensure safe, clean drinking water.
Fort Campbell obtains its water supply from Boiling Spring, a large spring issuing from limestone rock and located adjacent to the Little West Fork of the Red River, which is a tributary to the Cumberland River. The area surrounding the spring, including a large part of the reservation and some off-base areas in both Tennessee and Kentucky, an area of approximately 126 square miles, has been designated as a Wellhead Protection Area. This includes an area of approximately 50 square miles, which is the Boiling Spring ground water basin.

The Wellhead Protection Area is protected by law from the threat of potentially polluting materials and activities that could result in contamination of Fort Campbell's drinking water supply. Examples of potentially polluting materials and activities include excessive application of pesticides and herbicides, unauthorized use and/or transport of hazardous materials, and illegal dumping of batteries, gasoline, or oil. Boiling Spring produces water at the rate of approximately five million gallons per day, which is piped to the Fort Campbell Water Treatment Plant, where it is processed. The water is then sent to five water storage tanks and the water distribution system to be delivered to 40,000 customers each day. Numerous safeguards are in place and working continuously to protect Fort Campbell's water. These safeguards include regular sampling to assure that the water remains pure and that an adequate chlorine residual is maintained, a cross-connection prevention program to protect the system, a flushing program, and requirements to disinfect new and repaired pipes to maintain the integrity of the distribution system.

Waste Water

Fort Campbell's Wastewater Treatment Plant, built in the 1940's and expanded in 1975, is a trickling filter system with the capacity to treat four million gallons of wastewater per day. The wastewater collection system consists of 62 sewage lift stations and 85 miles of associated collection piping. Treatment of wastewater includes primary treatment, secondary treatment, and effluent disinfection using ultraviolet treatment. The plant operates under an NPDES Permit, which authorizes discharge of effluent from the WWTP to Little West Fork Creek, and requires pretreatment of any wastewater that contains grease or oils.


At Fort Campbell, care is taken to prevent stormwater from becoming mixed with contaminants that are a product of industry and construction. An example of such industry at Fort Campbell would be a motor pool. An example of construction would be the building of new housing units. The Clean Water Act requires that operators of facilities, including federal installations, which discharge stormwater associated with industrial and construction activity, obtain permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and the Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) to control the quality of stormwater discharges and to ensure that no contaminants or pollutants are conveyed along with stormwater. Tennessee and Kentucky have issued NPDES/KPDES permits for stormwater discharges, and under those permits, Fort Campbell is required to develop and implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan for each industrial and construction site covered under the permit. On the installation there are 66 industrial sites and numerous construction sites that are monitored by the Stormwater Branch. Each individual site is responsible for implementing its Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. In addition to contaminants arising from industrial and construction activities possibly affecting our watershed, urban stormwater runoff from housing areas also has the potential to carry contaminants (such as overused lawn chemicals and soapy water from washing cars in driveways, to name a few) into our storm drains and eventually into our streams, lakes and rivers. Therefore, care must be given to protecting storm drains in these areas as well. For more information, or to report suspected illicit discharges call the Environmental Compliance, Stormwater Branch at 798-9588 or the Ft. Campbell information number at 798-INFO, and remember, Only Rain in the Storm Drain. 


Fort Campbell is located in a geological area of karst terrain characterized by underground limestone rock of a cavernous nature. The surface of the ground over these underground caverns sometimes gives way and sinkholes form. Sinkholes vary widely in size, width, depth, and shape. A sinkhole may occur as a shallow depression in the ground surface or as a deeper cavity often with loose soil and rock. Potential for sinkhole formation increases during extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall, major runoff and even drought. A sinkhole may be a conduit to underground waters and thus represents a potential route for groundwater contamination or pollution. For this reason, sinkholes are classified by the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act of 1977 and its 1998 amendments as Class V injection wells and, as such, are subject to monitoring and, in some cases, permitting by the state of Tennessee. A sinkhole is a natural occurrence. When one forms on the installation, depending on the circumstance, the sinkhole might be permitted and repaired or simply monitored. However, because a sinkhole is an unstable area, it is difficult to stabilize permanently and it is subject to growing and reforming during periods of movement and settling. Because the ground around a sinkhole is unstable and subject to collapse it can be dangerous and should not be investigated on you own. If you discover a newly collapsed sinkhole on Ft. Campbell, please call the Environmental Compliance, Stormwater Branch at 798-9588 or the Ft. Campbell information number at 798-INFO. 


The Clean Water Act and the NPDES Permit require that certain contaminants be removed from wastewater before it is discharged to the wastewater collection system. Under this pretreatment requirement, wastewater contaminated with grease or oils must be treated to remove the grease or oil before the water can be discharged to the wastewater collection system. Oil and grease removal is accomplished primarily by oil/water separators and grease traps. As pretreatment, the oil/water separator removes oil and grease contaminants from surface water runoff before the water is released into the sanitary sewer system. Fort Campbell has 27 oil/water separators located at aircraft and vehicle maintenance and wash facilities throughout the installation. An additional pretreatment device, the grease trap, separates and retains suspended grease from wastewater before the water enters the sanitary sewer system. Grease traps are found at facilities where food is prepared such as mess halls, school cafeterias, child care facilities, and commercial food establishments. As a part of the pretreatment program, before being removed from service, fuel tankers and fuel containers must be purged to eliminate vapors and fuel residue. A strict protocol is followed to assure that no fuel reaches the wastewater system during the purging activity.