State lawmakers raise concern over Harpeth River pollution


State lawmakers are calling out the city of Franklin. They're pinning the pollution of the Harpeth River on a Franklin sewage treatment plan.

They’re drafting legislation that would limit the amount the sewage plant could discharge into the body of water.

A total of 500,000 people a year visit the Harpeth River, but a group of state lawmakers say these pollutants are a threat to public health and the environment. The largest source of that pollution, according to their data, is the city of Franklin sewage plant.

Their decision to step in comes amid the Tennessee Department of Environment of Conservation's plan to loan Franklin $100 million to expand the plant.

State Rep. Bo Mitchell is one of the lawmakers taking it upon himself to pass a law to clean up the river.

“When one city dumps enough phosphorous into this river to pollute it and cause possible harm to the people downstream, then we have to step up and say something about it,” explained Rep. Mitchell.

The mayor of Franklin, however, is not on the same page.

He was defensive at a press conference on Thursday, saying his city is being targeted.

"What we propose is continuing to produce a highly refined product out of our water plant that complies with what the TDEC allows us to do," stated Mayor Ken Moore.

Thursday was the first time state lawmakers met with the mayor. Dr. Moore says he would have liked to have helped draft the bill.