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What's Troubling Our Waters?
The Tennessee/Cumberland River Basin is one of the most diverse aquatic places in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Environmental “watchdogs” say that more groups and volunteers are focused on the health of the Tennessee River than were watching five years ago.

How Can I Help?

  • Youth Volunteers

  • Adult Volunteers

  • Become an Aquarium Member

  • According to the Used Oil Collection Act of 1993 Tennesseeans generate more than one million gallons of used motor oil every year. (One gallon is about one oil change). And if not disposed of properly, one gallon can ruin 1 million gallons of fresh water or an entire year’s supply of water for 50 people!

    Used oil can contaminate our groundwater, rivers and streams and poison our fish and wildlife, too. “Tennesseans depend on wells and streams for drinking water and we also enjoy using our lakes and streams for recreation and fishing." Heavy metals and contaminants can find their way into our sewers and streams and cause serious damage. If not disposed of properly, there is also a hefty fine with a maximum penalty is $10,000 for each day of occurrence.

    If you thought the Valdez oil spill was bad, think of this: Every year we dump about 20 times more oil than was spilled during the course of that one disaster.

    Statistics show that vehicles generate at least 2.5 gallons of used oil per year. And if you’re changing your own oil, that oil can be refined into lubricating oil or blended for use as an environmentally acceptable fuel, conserving our natural resources.

    If you’re a do-it-yourselfer (you generate less than 25 gallons a month or 300 gallons per year of oil) this free program is available to you. Even if you have oil from a farm that you’ve stockpiled, it’s not too late; a new program is in place now to help you. So don’t be a dipstick—call the information hotline at (800) 287-9013 and find out how you can do your part to protect our environment.

    • If you change your oil filter, drain the old one by punching an air hole in the top and draining for a minimum of 12 hours if it is hot or 24 hours if it is cold. Dispose of the oil filter only after it has been properly drained.
    • Check to see if the Oil Collection Center nearest you recycles used oil filters.
    • When buying engine oil, look for re-refined motor oil. Buying recycled products is important.
    • Don’t mix your used oil with anything.
    • Many of the collection centers also accept used antifreeze and used oil filters for recycling.
    • For more information about Tennessee’s Household Hazardous Waste Program call your local Environmental Assistance Center at 1-888-891-TDEC.

Be a Water Warrior
If all the world’s water were to fit into a gallon jug, the amount of freshwater would be just one tablespoon full. Yet almost half of our nation’s 3.6 million miles of rivers and streams are threatened or impaired. Here are things you can do starting today to protect and improve the quality of the rivers close to you.

  • Collect rainwater from your gutters by placing barrels or containers at the end of each gutter. You can store this water and use it to water your garden or other landscaping.

  • Dispose of oil and other toxic materials properly. One gallon of oil poured down the sewer can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water.

  • Install low-flow showerheads and sink spigots, which can be purchased at your local hardware store. Or contact your water utility company to find out if they distribute these devices for free. Low-flow showerheads reduce water flow from an average of five gallons per minute down to about two gallons per minute. This can save more than 5,400 gallons of water per year.

  • Reduce the amount of water your toilet uses by displacing water in the tank. By placing a jar or other closed container full of water into your toilet tank, you will reduce the amount of water used during each flush.

  • If you must water your lawn or garden, do so in the morning or the evening when the water will evaporate less rapidly. Also be sure to adjust sprinklers to avoid watering sidewalks or paved areas.

  • Sweep patios and sidewalks rather than hosing them. Hosing wastes water and carries contaminants into rivers.

  • Limit pesticide use. Pesticides, including herbicides, are the only substances intentionally introduced into our environment to kill living things. They can be dangerous to people, pets and wildlife and will be carried into our freshwater supply by runoff.

  • Landscape with native plants instead of grass to reduce your yard’s water needs. This will also attract wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

Make a Donation
Mail your donation to:
Tennessee Aquarium
Attn: Gordon Stalans
1 Broad Street
Chattanooga, TN 37401

For questions about donations:

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