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TCWN Issues 60-day Notice to Sue over Mascot Pollution

September 30, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Renée Victoria Hoyos, 865.522.7007 x100 or 865.607.6618
Mascot, TN.  The Tennessee Clean Water Network (“TCWN”) filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue Mine Road Properties, LLC for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act on September 27, 2011. 
Mine Road Properties, LLC whose registered agent and manager is Oliver Smith, III, owns an approximately 118-acre site in Mascot, TN that was once used for the processing of zinc tailings.  Vast tailings ponds remain on the site creating a moonscape that can be seen from Google Earth.   As a result, the site discharges milky-white stormwater to Flat Creek every time it rains.  The white color comes from the crushed limestone that is left over from historic zinc processing at the former Mascot Mill across Flat Creek.  This limestone is laced with arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, and zinc.
TCWN wants to the property owner to keep the tailings contained on site or remove them completely and dispose of them properly.  
“Our goal is to get the place cleaned up – or at least to get some effective controls on the runoff.  The photos are really compelling.  They look like reverse negatives. The water is ghostly white. The dangerous pollution is the part you can’t see – the arsenic and the lead,” explained TCWN Executive Direction Renée Victoria Hoyos.
TCWN’s review of files at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (“TDEC”) found that TDEC inspected the site back in 2003 but has not done anything in the last eight years to address this egregious environmental problem. 
“These tailings ponds are visible from satellite images, appear on the topo maps of the area, and are well-known to local residents.  This is not a hidden problem: you can see the pollution from the Mascot Road bridge.  The time has long past to get this site under control,” said TCWN Staff Attorney Stephanie Matheny.  “Every time it rains more than just a sprinkle, the site discharges pollutants illegally.”
For the complete Notice Letter and photographs, click here.

Tennessee Clean Water Network

625 Market St.
Knoxville, TN 37901
Mailing Address:
PO BOX 1521
Knoxville, TN 37901
Office: 865.522.7007
Fax: 865.525.4988