TDEC Extends Precautionary Fish Consumption Advisory for Catfish on Cheatham Reservoir

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The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced an extension of a precautionary fish consumption advisory due to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) for all catfish species on Cheatham Reservoir in Davidson and Cheatham counties.

TDEC advises that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children avoid eating the catfish and that all others limit consumption to one meal per month. Other recreational activities such as boating, kayaking, swimming, wading, and catch-and-release fishing carry no risk.

In 2022, TDEC collected catfish, freshwater drum, spotted bass, and largemouth bass from the reservoir at two stations – the Lytle Farms area and near Pardue Pond Wildlife Refuge. Based on the fish tissue results that document catfish species now significantly exceed Tennessee’s trigger point of 0.047 mg/kg for PCBs, TDEC has extended the precautionary advisory for catfish. The precautionary advisory applies to the entire Cheatham Reservoir, consistent with TDEC’s responsibilities under the Tennessee Water Quality Control Act.

“We provide these advisories so the community can make informed decisions about whether or not to consume the fish they catch,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young. “Unlike ‘do not consume’ advisories that warn the general population to avoid eating fish from a particular body of water altogether, precautionary fish consumption advisories are specifically directed to sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those who may eat fish frequently from the same body of water.”

TDEC will post warning signs at primary public access points and will work with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and United States Army Corps of Engineers to communicate this information to the public.

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