The county could legally go onto private property if there was evidence a wastewater pumping station is polluting an unnamed tributary, but three beaver dams creating a wetlands area farther north could be beyond the county’s reach.
Some residents in Royal Oaks subdivision suspect a private sewage system servicing Peachtree Mobile Home Park is polluting what is officially designated an unnamed tributary known as Wilkerson Creek. The stream parallel to Michigan Avenue Road runs north passed the mobile home park, through pastureland and through the subdivision before it empties into the Little Chatata near Dry Valley and Tasso roads.
Commissioner Lisa Stanbery asked if there were any health issues associated with the pumping station or standing water from the beaver dams.
“I know there are two parts but they are feeding off each other because you have contaminants being introduced into a situation where there is standing water,” Stanbery said.
Bradley County Attorney Joseph Byrd said there are actually three parts to Wilkerson Creek: The alleged illicit discharge from the pumping station has not been substantiated; then there is the material condition of the sewer system inside the mobile home park; and then there are the three beaver dams.
The only way the county could go on private property to address the beaver problem is if the standing water impacts the right-of-way ... which it does not.
He said according to TDEC, the area of water is classified as an “undefined wetland” and the dams can be removed by affected property owners in the subdivision. But, Byrd said, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers generally determines wetlands and he would like to see something in writing before property owners remove the dams.
Residents in Royal Oaks subdivision adjacent to the expanding wetland are concerned the private sewer system in the mobile home park is adding bacteria to the stream. Five tests conducted during the month of March at five different sites by Bradley County Stormwater Technician Shane Ware show elevated levels of coliform bacteria are more likely from livestock than from the mobile home park.
The averages are well within tolerances for boating, fishing and domestic water supplies but increase after the livestock crossing in the creek.
Bradley County Attorney Joseph Byrd informed commissioners Monday morning “There is no fecal evidence of illicit discharge into the stream. If there is an illicit discharge there is something that can be done on our side.”
There has been a question of the county’s ability to pursue the landowner who lives out of state if the owner is responsible for the source of pollution. But lacking evidence, Byrd said the county has no legal standing.
He said the results of more conclusive testing by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are not available.