Plaintiff Claims Real Estate Development is Breaching the Clean Water Act

In a Middle District of Tennessee complaint filed on Monday, Aaron Davis, a property owner claimed that companies running a real estate development project, Otter Creek Springs, Phase 1, upstream from his property were breaching the Clean Water Act (CWA) and causing negative effects on the plaintiff’s property. 

The plaintiff said he mailed a notice of his intent to file the lawsuit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its regional administrator, the Tennessee Department of Environment and conservation commissioner, and the defendants including Tony J. Cavender, the project’s manager; The Jones Company of Tennessee, LLC; and Otter Creek Holdings, LLC. Reportedly, the violations have continued causing the plaintiff to seek a court order. 

The defendants, according to the complaint, do have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for stormwater discharges, but that an inspection of the site found multiple violations including: clogged storm drains, filters which were not maintained, inspection sheets and postings were not available, a drainage area was causing erosion, sediment was discharged into nearby creeks, and site assessments for “each outfall draining 10 or more acres” had not been submitted. The complaint also said the defendants did not obtain a NPDES permit for construction in some locations where work is being done. 

The complaint purported that the defendants were not complying with their NPDES permit “the rivers and streams degraded by discharges from (the) Defendants are Niblet Creek and its tributaries, Hunting Camp Creek, and the South Harpeth River which are considered jurisdictional waters of the United States under the CWA. Rock, sand and dirt, which are the primary components of sediment, are specifically listed as pollutants pursuant to CWA.” 

The plaintiff claimed that “illegal placement of fill material” was a continued violation from the defendants and that the increased sedimentation of streams and rivers violated Tennessee laws as well as the CWA. 

The plaintiff asked for a judgement that the defendants are violating the CWA and Tennessee water standards. He also asked that the court order them to obtain and comply with the NPDES permit and take steps to remedy harm caused by their violations. The plaintiff sought damages for harm done to him by the defendant’s nuisance, negligence, trespass, and vandalism. 

The plaintiff is represented by Bone McAllester Norton PLLC.