Signal Mountain

WaterWays is offering septic inspection and repair assistance for Signal Mountain homeowners within the Bee Branch Area!

The Problem

Did you know that Bee Branch is listed by the State of Tennessee as “Impaired?” It is impaired because it has too much E. coli bacteria. This type of bacteria comes from malfunctioning septic tanks, leaking sewers, and pet waste washing into the creek. E. coli can make us sick, rendering the creek unsafe for human contact especially when levels are high. One way you can help is to properly maintain your septic system, and for a limited time WaterWays is offering partial funding for septic repair!

Septic Repair

  • Must be arranged through Waterways
  • Homeowner must pay at least 40% of cost or discuss options with Waterways
  • While funds last
  • Priority given to earliest applications
  • System must not have been installed or inspected within the last 5 years


Do you have?

  • Strong sewer smell in your yard
  • Bright green spongy grass even in dry weather
  • Pooling water around your septic system
  • Wastewater backing up in household drains?

If so, contact us to arrange to have your system professionally inspected and repaired.

Eligible Locations

Upper Bee Branch Watershed (Birnam Wood neighborhood area) including yards that drain toward Bee Branch.


Contact us to determine which addresses are eligible.

Contact Us to learn more or to sign up for our match program

While WaterWays has worked with the Town of Signal Mountain on projects for many years, in 2020 we were awarded a grant to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Middle Creek and Shoal Creek watersheds. What does that mean? Since those streams are on the state’s dirty streams list (303 d list) because of pollution from E coli, sediment, and acidic mine drainage, our goal is to reduce those pollutants. To begin our work, it was important to get a full picture of the scope of the problems before implementing treatments.

We have consistently tested the water quality and evaluated mine sites since the project’s beginning. Recently, UTC grad student Michelle Sidwell joined the team. Michelle is doing more frequent analyses, including testing heavy metal levels from the old mine seeps found around Fruedenberg Creek. We have also started planting trees with members of the community to reduce erosion and improve the mine areas that were recently reclaimed by TDEC. In addition, many homes in the watersheds have been certified as RainSmart for reducing runoff from their yards. We have preliminary designs for the treatment of runoff from two abandoned mines which will be installed after approval by the landowners and permits received. Furthermore, septic system remediation in the Bee Branch watershed will soon be starting!

Why are the mines on Signal a Problem?

The mines pose a threat to the Middle Creek watershed, since water that flows through them emerges with a lower pH and a much higher chance to release toxic metals like lead, copper, zinc, and aluminum. The change in pH can also impact the growth of native plants and animals, in turn changing the makeup of the entire ecosystem.