The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) issued a notice of violation on Monday to the owners of the Chattanooga Red Wolves, saying construction work has already begun without getting a permit from the state agency.
TDEC inspectors provided photos in its notice of violation showing that "more than one acre of land" has been disturbed, which is against state environmental regulations. The inspection was conducted on August 8th.
TDEC's violation notice reads, "Disturbing one acre of soil or more prior to receiving coverage under the CGP is a violation of the Tennessee Water Quality Control act of 1977."
Red Wolves owner Robert Martino, who is from Utah, must submit an updated CGP ("Construction General Permit") application reflecting the current site conditions by August 23rd.
City leaders in East Ridge broke ground for the new stadium on July 9th.
NewsChannel 9 asked Red Wolves management for comment on this story, and they emailed this statement to us:
“We did receive a notice from TDEC and Hamilton County regarding our development, and we are in discussion with both government entities. We believe that all parties will come to a quick resolution, and we will quickly proceed as planned.” - Jeff Sikes, President of ASA Engineering
Hamilton County told NewsChannel 9 that the county's water quality department is currently investigating the matter after learning of the TDEC Violation. Hamilton County Water Quality has requested the onsite workers to cease activity until they can complete an investigation into the violation.
NewsChannel 9 went to East Ridge City Hall to speak with city managers about the stadium's construction hiccup. East Ridge’s city manager, Chris Dorsey, said the city has a limited role with the project.
“This is an issue between the red wolves, the engineer, and the state,” he said.
However, the city did approve one aspect of the project.
“We issued a tree cutting permit to the contractors,” Dorsey said.
Dorsey says many who live nearby are optimistic about what this development will eventually bring here.
“Citizens have been very positive about what’s going on with this,” Dorsey said.
But some residents are not as positive. Sandra Kurtz, a local environmental activist, has has publicly expressed her environmental concerns about the project before.
"We are concerned very much about the wetlands," she says. “This is a flood area it’s meant to protect the neighborhoods around it from flooding.”
These are concerns East Ridge says are being addressed.
“It all depends on how the red wolves work with the Tennessee department of environmental conservation to make sure they answer all those questions,” Dorsey said.
Read the full violation notice below:
This is a developing story and will be updated.