Apr 26 2007
11:31 am

Speaking of stormwater, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has slapped Rarity Pointe developers with record fines totaling more than $3 million for water pollution caused by runoff. Mike Ross of Rarity Communities was hit with a $346,000 fine, which he is appealing.

Andy Axel's picture

Background on the state's

Background on the state's NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) implementation here.

Rarity Pointe is listed as a permitted developer here, so I surmise that they're familiar with the applicable law pursuant to the Clean Water Act.


Georgia's in Florida, dumbass!

WhitesCreek's picture

I've been on both sides of

I've been on both sides of the regulators in this case. I've had a development cited, although not for anything I'd had done but for the previous owner's transgressions. Fact is, the enforcement folks bend over backwards to get developers to correct things and will not take it to a fine unless they can't get anything done to fix the problem.

I remember seeing my development's name on the same list as Rarity. WE did the work the water quality folks wanted us to do and got a nice letter. Mike Ross didn't and got a nice fine. From my personal experience, by the time you've managed to get fined for a stormwater violation...

You earned it!

Sure, it's a pain to keep silt fences in place and a big storm at the wrong time can make it tougher. The deal is that we owe it to every other person in this state to do what we can and it just ain't that hard or that expensive.

Just so you'll know...About 60% of all pollutants in Tennessee waters is mud. It has a huge effect on aquatic life and can wipe out a species very quickly if allowed to continue.

Stormwater's picture

Developers not qualifed to do business - Rant

The response from the developer in this case demonstrates that they do not have a proper understanding of what their business involves. A damaged environment is not a byproduct of development in most parts of the Country in - ahem - 2007. The rest of the country knows this... WTF is going on in Tennessee?????????

I spent last year traveling the entire United States (doing workshops on environmentally sensitive “Low Impact Development” stormwater management design), so I think I have some idea of the state of stormwater management in this country. I understand that some regions are ahead of others, when it comes to protecting the environment.

But when I hear about folks that are outraged by being fined for having no erosion and sediment control - and stating that it is “only dirt and mud”- I am simply amazed.

Maybe it’s my perspective - being in an area where we’ve had sediment control for nearly 30 years (YES - 30 YEARS - this is NOT new stuff!)….. but I find the ignorance and gall of these folks to be rather despicable. If a developer can not understand and respect the fact that having tons of sediment running into streams is a bad thing…. then they should find another business to get into - that does not involve changing the surface of the planet.

In this writer’s opinion, such a developer is not qualified to do business that disturbs the land - it is 2007 - NOT 1957. Time to wake up!

Okay - rant over.

More stuff about Sustainable Stormwater Management at (link...)

rikki's picture

only dirt and mud

Don Bosch was out of town, and somehow I got invited to sit on the Inside Tennessee panel for this week's show, which was filmed last night. We discussed stormwater in the final segment, and I got a chance to rebut the "it's just mud" defense. Watch for it on WBIR Sunday morning from 9:30-10.

knoxctymud's picture


who else was there to speak on stormwater?

rikki's picture

smoke on the water

The main topic of the show is the smoke-free workplace law. The water issue was just something the panelists discussed at the close of the show, so there weren't any real experts there. I believe Inside Tennessee did a show on the stormwater ordinance recently, and you might be able to find it archived on their website somewhere.

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