Mercury warning issued for Normandy Reservoir

Mercury warning issued for Normandy Reservoir

REGIONAL NEWS — Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) officials announced Monday that the Normandy Reservoir located in parts of Bedford and Coffee counties is now under a precautionary fish advisory for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted) due to potential mercury pollution. The advisory extends the entire 3,260 acres of the Normandy Reservoir.

A precautionary advisory means that vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species listed. All other persons should limit consumption.

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment but can also be released through industrial pollution. Nearly all fish and shellfish contain trace amounts. Advisories are issued only fish test positive for a build up of mercury that represents a higher than acceptable risk for the general public.

“Organic substances and mercury tend to bind with the sediment, settle out of the water, and persist for a very long time,” TDEC officials said. “In the sediment, they become part of the aquatic food chain and, over time, concentrate in fish tissue. Contaminants can be found in fish tissue even if the substance has not been used or manufactured in decades.”

State environmental folks also remind locals that, “where contaminants are elevated in fish, they may also be present in other aquatic life as well. Therefore, the public is advised to limit or avoid consumption of other animals such as turtles, crayfish and mussels in waterbodies with a fishing advisory.”

Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) officials will posts signs advising the public of the advisory. It’s important to note that this is a precautionary advisory aimed at vulnerable populations and not a “do not consume” warning to everyone in the general public. •

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