The Bradley County Commission has no jurisdiction over a project that led to mud flowing into Brymer Creek from Spring Branch.
“Bradley County really has no jurisdiction over it. I guess we could file a complaint with the city because Bradley County is where the damage is being done,” 2nd District Commissioner Ed Elkins said during Tuesday’s voting session.
The project in McDonald near Exit 20 off Interstate 75 was originally solely in the county, but has been annexed since community members first came to the Commission with concerns about possible pollution in the creek as a result of work near the proposed industrial park in that area.
“I realize they said it was in the city, but the people who are affected are in the county. This is a county problem,” community member Dan Rawls told the Commission.
A video posted on YouTube titled “Killing Brymer Creek” shows the flow of muddy water into the creek. Elkins said he had seen the video and would be emailing the link to Legislative Assistant Amy Moore so the entire Commission would have access to the video.
“The contractor did not take necessary precautions,” Elkins said. “I’m told they are taking precautions now.”
Chairman Louie Alford said he and Moore would work to set up a meeting with city officials to get more information and discuss options.
Fourth District Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said ultimately responsibility lies with the contractor. Peak-Jones said based on the information she had on the project, erosion control had been put in place, but was not completely successful because of recent heavy rains.
“Those erosion controls do not always hold under all the water that we’ve had,” Peak-Jones said. “TDEC is out there and they are handing out fines.”
Resident Pamela Rymer O’Dryer, who owns land where Spring Branch enters Brymer Creek, said damage had already been done. She said she hoped the industrial park would be stopped to keep further issues from arising.
“As soon as they start churning up the earth and putting in asphalt, we’ll be seeing this and worse,” Rymer O’Dryer said.
Peak-Jones said the city does have oversight in place for the project, and is the governing body with responsibility to enforce the codes.
Brymer Creek is considered to be the fifth-cleanest creek in the state.
Elkins said the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation had been out to the site and the situation was being taken care of.
“I was assured that corrective action had been put in place,” Elkins said.
Rymer O’Dryer said this was what community members had been worried about before and why they had spoken to the Commission in the past.
“We are very, very concerned about watching (it) only because we told you it would happen,” Rymer O’Dryer said.
Also during the meeting:
- Fifth District commissioner Jeff Yarber was chosen as the vice chairman. An initial vote between Yarber and current vice chairman Mark Hall resulted in seven votes for Yarber. Commissioners Jeff Morelock, Peak-Jones and Robert Rominger had passed on voting. First District Commissioner Terry Caywood was absent. Later, Hall withdrew his name from consideration, so that Yarber could be chosen as vice chairman. Alford was again chosen as chairman.
- The Commission passed a resolution for the statutory bond for the assessor of property.
- Several committees that are no longer necessary to the Commission were officially dissolved Monday. These included the Fire/EMS merger study committee, the Septic Tank Ad Hoc Committee, the Volkswagen Task Force and the redistricting committee. Appointments were also made to the beer board.