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Archive for the ‘Enforcement’ Category

Hog lagoon pollutes stream in NW Tennessee

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

According to TDEC a Weakley County hog farmer intentionally pumped out his waste lagoon into Little Cypress Creek causing a fish kill and turning the rural creek an odd red color.  This blatant destruction of the stream eliminated all dissolved oxygen, creating a situation in which nothing can live in the creek for now.  TDEC is taking the appropriate measures and warning residents to avoid contact with the water.  It’s unfortunate one farmer’s irresponsible actions have such lasting repercussions.  Read the full story.

TCWN releases a report on TDEC’s enforcement program

Monday, April 19th, 2010

On Wed, April 14, 2010 TCWN released a report on TDEC’s enforcement program in the Division of Water Pollution Control.  We made the following findings:

In 2008, 204 sites across the state had enforcement actions.  Of those sites 2% were on farmland, but not for farming activities, 2% were against mining and 73% were against developers.

The average fine that was required to be paid was $2,000 or less. The average total assessed fine was between $2,000 - $5,000 (the amount is bartered down in settlement negotiations).

The majority of enforcement actions (65%) were Expedited Enforcement Actions which are for small permit violations, like not having your pollution prevention plan on site, not water quality violations and the fines can be reduced by half if there is no appeal.

To read more, click here.

NYT article outlines the dangers of Clean Water Act restrictions

Monday, March 1st, 2010

As many of you know, a several years back the Supreme Court ruled on two cases which have created significant uncertainty as to what waters are protected under the Clean Water Act.  As a result, environmental groups around the nation have been working to eliminate the confusion and restore protection to our nation’s waters through gaining support for the Clean Water Restoration Act - a bill which would remove the confusing term “navigable” from the Act, make clear “waters of the United States” means those water bodies protected prior to 2001, and clarify Congress’s broad constitutional authority to protect such waters.

In a recent article, the New York Times highlighted some of the dangerous results of removing protection from smaller, unconnected water bodies, and noting an estimated “more than 1,500 major pollution investigations have been discontinued or shelved in the last four years.”  The lack of enforcement ability on behalf of the EPA and our states threatens our drinking water, wildlife, and recreational use of our streams.

Congress must act quickly to restore protection to our nation’s waters!

EPA developing new stormwater rules!

Monday, January 11th, 2010

EPA is working to prevent construction runoff from polluting our waters.  They announced plans to initiate national rulemaking to develop a program to minimize stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment.  Sediment is the primary pollutant running off construction sites and polluting adjacent streams, but other pollutants can quite feasibly be included in the runoff.  Proper installation and maintenance of best management practices (BMPs) can keep runoff onsite during most rain events.  The EPA and states already have rules addressing construction sites, but this proposal will expand those rules and establish specific requirements for stormwater control.  They also intend to ensure consistency and analyze mechanisms to protect “sensitive areas.”  Five hearings across the country are being held to gather public input.  Unfortunately none of these hearings are being held in the southeast.  To learn more about this rulemaking process go to EPA’s stormwater website.

EPA finalized construction stormwater rules

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Last year EPA proposed some changes to the construction stormwater rules, referred to as effluent guidelines.  Overall, TCWN was supportive of more stringent requirements and assurances to protect our water quality.  The most discussed draft language was a numeric turbidity limit of 13 NTU.  I won’t bore you with too much explanation of what NTU means, but put simply it measures the clarity of water.  And 13 NTU is pretty clear water.  However, in the final rules issued last month, EPA upped the numeric limit to 280 NTU… quite a change.  As you can guess, 280 NTU isn’t nearly as clear as 13 NTU. 

Another big change was the application of these requirements to 20 acres and eventually 10 acres rather than larger sites, which was initially proposed.  This is good news.  There will most likely be challenges to these rules in the near future – perhaps from both sides.  For now, feel free to check out these new rules here.