Hickman County Times: On our watch, fighting for Hickman County

3/24/22

You have heard the rallying cry “Save Lick Creek” throughout Hickman County in response to the Water Authority of Dickson County’s (WADC) proposal to dump up to 12 million gallons of effluent sewage a day into Lick Creek.

An exceptional waterway, Lick Creek feeds directly into the Duck River, the most biodiverse river in North America.

You have also likely heard that 97 percent of this sewage will be from Dickson and Williamson counties, polluting two of Hickman County’s treasured waterways just to grow our wealthier, neighboring counties. 

But this cause, this fight, is not just to save Lick Creek. It is much bigger than a creek. This fight is really to save Hickman County. The WADC proposal has broad implications throughout Hickman County, well beyond the banks of Lick Creek.  All property owners and creek lovers, take heed.   

The WADC is proposing a massive regional sewage treatment facility that will encompass over 40 acres in Bon Aqua, right off Highway 100. Properties between the Country Quick Stop and the Beacon Light are candidates for this development, and if they are not willing to sell their land, it will be taken from them via eminent domain.

That means citizens’ homes, farms, and land will be seized without their consent.  Your neighbors’ way of life, land, and legacy will be taken by the WADC.   

Once the plant is operational, residents of Bon Aqua and folks downwind will face the stench of sewage replacing the fresh air we value. 

More than eleven miles of pipe will be laid across the land between the sewage facility and the discharge location at Lick Creek. Pump stations will be built down Highway 46 in Bon Aqua, and along Highway 100 going towards Fairview, all with connecting pipes that will cut through citizens’ lawns and land, without their consent required. 

The WADC has earmarked another large property in their permit proposal, located at Greer Road and South Lick Creek, just off Highway 7. While the potential use of this land is currently unknown, we see it as more land that could be seized from our citizens by the WADC—which is a for-profit entity. 

All this harm to our citizens, to our communities, to our treasured environment—but only 3 percent of the proposed sewage originates in our county. 

Hickman County citizens should also be concerned about the potential adverse impacts of unintentional economic growth associated with expanded sewage. If not planned well, sewage access can enable subdivision developers, who do not have any stake in Hickman County, to swoop in, make a fast buck and be gone as quickly as they arrive. East Hickman would become open range for urban sprawl, with crowded, dense subdivisions built on every available parcel of land. 

If this happens, Hickman County taxpayers will be left to deal with the long-term effects. While property tax revenue could increase due to subdivisions, let’s not be naïve; new East Hickman residents will still likely spend most of their time and money in neighboring counties, not in Centerville, not in support of our economy.

Long after the developers are gone, our taxpayers will be on the hook to fund the unplanned ensuing infrastructure needs like roads, schools, and police. These are most likely funded by additional property and wheel tax increases across the entire county. 

What do we as a county want to be known for? Today, our Hickman County Economic and Community Development group markets us as a great place to live if you like fresh air, trees, fresh spring water, a rich river system, scenic views, friendly people, small farms, and small-town life. We are blessed. This is what makes us unique.     

We should not pollute our waterways with effluent chemicals (and other toxic waste that cannot be treated) for the sake of wealthier neighboring Dickson and Williamson Counties.   

We should not defile our land to help other counties prosper. There are alternatives that should be considered, alternatives that would not prey upon Hickman County. The WADC already owns rights-of-way directly to the Cumberland River, a much better solution—water returning to the place from which it was taken—but would cost more, and profit is the name of their game.  

We are not opposed to industry and well-planned growth. In fact, we strongly support industry when it is well planned. We want to attract those that love the life Hickman County can offer, and our citizens should demand that their leaders construct a proactive, intentional approach to growth. One that does not enable urban sprawl, with crowded subdivision after crowded subdivision invading our scenic landscape.   

It is time for us to stand up for our county, for our home. It is time for us to take responsibility for our own future, not leave it to chance in other’s hands. 

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is listening and needs to hear from you. TDEC will host a community meeting in late April or early May. Dates will be provided in the Hickman County Times well in advance. Show up, and make your voices heard.   

If we Save Lick Creek, we Save Hickman County. We send a message to all the others who would exploit us – “not on our watch!”   

To learn more and stay updated, please visit our Facebook or Instagram page, Save Lick Creek, or visit our website savelickcreek.com. 

Submitted by Amanda Mathis and Rodes Hart, organizers of Friends of Lick Creek.

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