Record rainfall causing debris to collect in lakes

Record June rainfall: more debris in lakes

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - So far this June we're almost double the average amount of rainfall. In fact, we've had more than 7.5 inches of rain this month (a record total for June) when usually we total 3.9 inches.

All of the extra rain means a big mess in area lakes. We headed to Boone Lake to see how much trash is piling up.

Cody Arnold's tacklebox is loaded and ready for another day on Boone Lake. He's been fishing the last few days and so far he hasn't had a big catch. "It's disappointing. You get a net hung up in the trash or an old tire in the bottom and it tears your net up," said Arnold.

To see just how bad the trash problem is we tagged along with Joe Tester -- he works full-time cleaning debris on Boone Lake and says in 11 years on the job he's never seen this much litter. "As much rain as we've had and as high as the water is, Mother Nature has a way of cleaning herself up. But this is where it goes and we clean up behind mother nature," added Tester.

The debris is going along the shorelines. Our crew found everything from tree limbs to soda bottles.

You may be asking -- why does this debris gather next to the shoreline? We learned it breaks down to three reasons: boat traffic, TVA generating water, and storms.

But when the rain stops and the lake is quiet the debris floats into the lake. That's when it becomes an even bigger problem. "It does become a hazard for boating, a tremendous hazard for wildlife, and it's a water pollution issue," said Russ Harrison, president of the Boone Lake Association.

That's why crews are always cleaning to make the lake safe. But Tester has a word of warning for boaters this holiday weekend: "The more boats the worse it will get. So be careful, be really careful," he said.

For those wanting to lend a hand cleaning Boone Lake, you can find more information by visiting their website here.

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