The Environmental Protection Agency fined Knoxville Utilities Board $68,050 for sewage overflows over the past four years. This is a minuscule fine, less than two cents per year per customer, surely inadequate to cover EPA's expense in monitoring KUB's system and Knoxville's creeks. It's acceptable, however, because KUB has committed to upgrades that will cost about $120 per customer per year and hopefully bring an end sewage spills into backyards and streams. Halfway through the 10-year program, KUB is reporting a 70 percent reduction in overflows.
Less sewage in our waterways means more life, from crayfish to minnows to birds. It means fewer annoying insects like mosquitoes and flies and more interesting ones like mayflies and dragonflies. It means less worry about touching the water or eating fish and less slime on the rocks. This adds up to healthier recreation, better quality of life and higher property values. So our investment as ratepayers and as taxpayers supporting EPA is yielding long-term value for the community.