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Stormwater sites under investigation

Update - UTK Sorority Village Site
June 23, 2011. James McMillan, TCWN volunteer, sampled this site on June 18, 2011 and found that it had the highest amount of sediment in TCWN's history.  The stormwater discharged from the site had a turbidity of 32,000 ntu and a concentration of 44,200 mg/L of suspended solids.  TCWN has seen samples up in the 10,000 -12,000 ntu range, but nothing this high.  While we reported last year that the site was in compliance, it no longer appears to be so.  TCWN has complained again to state and federal officials, requesting swift action.
The University of Tennessee is developing a 15-acre site at the corner of the Kingston Pike and Neyland Drive in Knoxville to provide new sorority housing.  Stormwater runoff problems at the site began as 2009 was nearing a close.  TDEC conducted an inspection of the site and documented the discharge of sediment-laden water.  TDEC issued a Notice of Violation without a penalty shortly thereafter.
TCWN frequently visited the site documenting on going problems and issued complaints in 2010. but TDEC failed to pursue further violations.  TCWN continued contacting the University, EPA and the City of Knoxville to remedy the problems over several months.  TCWN received a response from UT.  The site remained in substantial compliance for many months.
Holrob/Ratliff Office Building
What happens when a developer enters an Agreed Order with the State of Tennessee to correct serious violations of the construction general permit?  In the case of the Holrob/Ratliff Office Building at 1720 Schaeffer Road in Knoxville, not much.  The developer signed an order in October 2008 and agreed to ito stabilize the nearly 19-acre, steeply-sloped site that was first cleared in 2005.  The permit requires stabilization of inactive areas within 15 days, but this site has not been stabilized for nearly six years. On May 24, TCWN has submitted a 118(a) complaint to ask the State to enforce its own order and permit.

Hallsdale-Powell Public Utility District
You might think that when government spends money to build a new treatment plant to improve water quality, it would be certain not to pollute water in the process.  Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case with the Hallsdale-Powell Public Utility District (HPUD).   It is using Clean Water Act funding for construction that causes stormwater discharges like these.

McMillan NOV
What happens when a Knox County citizen reports noncompliant construction sites to enforcement officials?  Well, apparently he can be issued a notice of violation (NOV).  This is what happened to stormwater activist James McMillan.
With the recent change in leadership at Knox County, Mr. McMillan was hoping for increased stormwater enforcement.  He has turned over numerous construction sites to Knox County stormwater officials, many of which have cleared more than 10 acres and have discharged polluted water to streams on multiple occasions.  But, instead of focusing on those sites, Knox County issued an NOV to James' father for a 0.1 acre construction site that has not caused any environmental harm and that the McMillans do not control. 
In response to a letter from TCWN, Mayor Burchett and senior County staff met with TCWN and Mr. McMillan to discuss the matter.  The meeting was productive, and revealed that a more recent Knox County inspection found that the site had come into compliance.  TCWN also found out that Knox County has sent NOVs to dozens of so-called "mom and pop" sites regardless of whether these sites may be causing environmental harm; a practice TCWN does not approve.
Mercy North
By September of 2010 stormwater runoff from the the Mercy North construction site became an obvious problem.  Inadequate erosion and sediment controls resulted in significant amounts of dirt running off the site and into drainage ways headed to our streams.  The site has failed to install and/or maintain the necessary controls to prevent water pollution to the adjacent tributaries, which eventually join Beaver Creek.  Outlet structures on site were not designed to protect for water quality.
Efforts have been made to notify Knox County of these problems, and a complaint was sent to Knox County in October.  TCWN learned that Knox County finally issued a  notice of violation on January 5, 2011, after inspecting the site for more than six months without identifying violations. 
TCWN appreciates Knox County's effort to fix the problem, but our continued monitoring of the site has found ongoing stormwater violations.  On April 11, 2011, TCWN sent a Section 118(a) Complaint to TDEC Commissioner Robert Martineau.  TDEC responded on June 15, 2011, acknowledging that there had been problems at the site and that a second notice of violation had been issued on March 3, 2011.  As a result, a new stormwater pollution prevention plan was developed for the site.

McMillan NOV.pdf1.39 MB
TCWN Letter to Mayor Burchett 1-11-11.pdf45.03 KB
Mercy 118(a) Complaint.pdf3.08 MB
Holrob 118(a) complaint.pdf1.35 MB
118a response.pdf2.92 MB
Criss Response 5-18-10.pdf542.02 KB
Jimmy Cheek Letter.doc28.5 KB
TCWN ltr to TDEC EPA 7-13-10.pdf494.35 KB
complaint to TDEC and EPA 6-23-11.pdf13.98 KB
TDEC response to Mercy 118(a) complaint.pdf91.7 KB

Tennessee Clean Water Network

625 Market St.

Knoxville, TN 37902


Mailing Address:

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Knoxville, TN 37902


Office: 865.522.7007

Fax: 865.525.4988