Members of the City Council were told Monday that environmental concerns and heavy rains have brought cost overruns to an industrial park project at Harriman Road and APD 40.
Janice Casteel, city manager, said, "We've been under a microscope" since neighbors complained about muddy runoff into Brymer Creek and TDEC inspectors got into the act.
Officials said TDEC has issued a violation order on the project. The fine was put at $2,500, but that could increase to $2,500 per day, a staff member said. A TDEC spokesperson later said there had not been a fine.
TDEC had given the city until Monday to make the corrections. However, several City Council members said they did not want to approve a change order of almost $65,000 until the county, which is funding the project 50-50, signs off on it.
And Councilman Richard Banks pointed out that the City Council had never voted to approve an earlier significant change on the property - moving to a six percent road grade instead of eight percent. Ms. Casteel said at the time there was money to cover that cost and it was felt to be a needed improvement so the road could be more usable for truck traffic.
One problem that has been encountered is that ditches on both sides of the road have significant rock sections, which is an unexpected cost of up to $188,000.
TDOT is putting $2 million into the project, and the city and county $1,750,000 each.
Mayor Tom Rowland asked during the discussion, "Who's responsible for putting the mud into Brymer Creek other than Mother Nature?"
Ms. Casteel said frequent periods of heavy rain have exacerbated erosion problems at the project.
She said there is also a requirement of a site inspector at $1,100 per day. The inspector said in recent weeks he has been at the location two days a week to check on the erosion barriers. Total inspection costs are at $580,000, it was stated.