Farmers Worried Dry Creek Will Impact Livestock, Say City Is To Blame

POSTED: 10:33 AM Jun 13 2012   UPDATED: 10:37 AM Jun 13 2012
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

A dry creek means a flood of problems for some local farmers, and they say Johnson City is to blame.

Dwight Douglas has been around the creek along Free Hill Road all of his life, and only now has it become a problem.

"I'm almost 59 years old. I've never seen this [creek], this down here dry. There's always been water," Douglas told News 5.

Douglas said he believes a recent fix to a Johnson City sewer pipe project that runs alongside the creek is to blame. He said six of nine area springs are now dry.

"When they filled it up with rock, it stopped the water, the spring going into [a nearby] pond," explained Douglas.

This means danger for his livestock. We learned Douglas has 55 head of cattle to water, and now he's resorting to a well that he fears will soon dry up.

If it does, he could be forced to sell all of his livestock.

"I can't afford to buy water. That's a no-win situation," Douglas said.

It's also a no-win situation for neighbor G.C. Sanders whose pond, stocked with fish, is now stagnant without the flowing spring water.

"That means they're gonna die if they don't get oxygen. Yeah, it's a mess," Sanders said.

We spoke with Johnson City's assistant director of water and sewer services, Neal Whitten.

Whitten said he's been to that creek to address these farmers' concerns, but he said it's too early to know if the project is to blame.

"We'll sit down with our records of the project from our inspection [and] contractor's records. We'll sit down with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and get their input," Whitten added.

In the meantime, farmers simply wait for rain and answers.

"I'm not asking for no money or nothing. I want the water back on my place like it was," said Douglas.