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Hydrogen Sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas with a rotten-egg odor. It is produced when bacteria break down plant and animal material, often in stagnant waters with low oxygen content such as bogs, swamps, or man-made lakes and reservoirs. Industrial sources of hydrogen sulfide include petroleum and natural gas extraction and refining, pulp and paper manufacturing, rayon textile production, chemical manufacturing and waste disposal. Some bacteria change calcium sulfate, the major component of wallboard, into hydrogen sulfide. If construction and demolition debris contain large quantities of wallboard, large amounts of hydrogen sulfide can be formed.

Besides bogs and swamps, other natural sources include volcanoes, hot springs, and underwater thermal vents.


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  • Adopt

    Are you a member of a group or organization in your community that would be interested in adopting this waterway? Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about stream adoption.

    Learn more about adopting a stream

  • Practice responsible disposal practices.

    Ensure that hazardous materials are properly disposed of and that no litter is left near waterways on your property.

    Resources include:

    • How Do I Recycle? Common Recyclables – EPA
    • Search for Recycling Solution (Inc. for Wallboard/Drywall) – Earth911
  • Allow for natural growth near waterways

    If you live or work next to a waterway, leave a 35′ to 100′ no mow zone on its banks. Allow natural and native plant growth in this buffer area or plant native trees, bushes, and groundcover. This vegetation can filter pollutants before they reach your waterway and provide other water quality benefits that far exceed those of a mowed lawn. Native plants and grasses require less watering and fertilizer and also provide important habitat for native species of wildlife.

    Resources include:

    • Free trees for Tennesseans during TEC’s annual statewide 100K Tree Day – TN Environmental Council
    • Purchase Native Wildflower/Grass Alternatives to Mowed Grass – Roundstone Native Seed and/or Seedland
    • Tennessee Aquatic Stream Clean Up and Riparian Tree Grant (Scroll to bottom of linked page for more info) – TN Wildlife Resources Agency
    • General Guidelines for Volunteer Based Riparian Buffer Plantings – TN Environmental Council
    • Improving Stream Channels With Live Staking – UT Extension
    • Tennessee Urban Riparian Buffer Handbook – TN Dept. of Agriculture
    • Landscaping with Native Plants in West, Middle, and East TN – TN Wildlife Resources Agency
    • Native Plants for TN – UT Extension
    • Forest Stewardship Program and Landowner Services – KY Division of Forestry
    • Plant Availability Guide – KY Department of Agriculture
    • State Nurseries and Tree Seedlings – KY Division of Forestry
  • Organize with other in your community. Make your voices heard and your votes count.

    Participate in community planning efforts and advocate for relevant measures that improve or protect water quality. Write to your elected official and let them know this is concern or invite them to speak about the impairment with your home-owners association. When elections come up, vote for candidates who will address the problem and hold them accountable to their promises. Support local watershed / environmental associations.

    Resources include:

    • Advocacy Toolkit – TN Environmental Council
    • Find Your Legislators – Federal Legislators; State Legislators (KY/TN); Local Legislators (KY/TN)
  • Spread the word.

    Do your neighbors, family, or roommates know about the problem? Now that you know how to be an effective steward, enlist the help of others in your neighborhood. Share iCreek or resources within it with your neighbors and encourage them to join the effort to protect your creek.