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Eminent Domain Fight in Camden

By Heather Mathis
By hmathis@wbbjtv.com

BENTON COUNTY Tenn.- A heated city council meeting was held in Camden on Monday that had people literally screaming at their city leaders.

The argument is over the city's threat to use eminent domain on land owners, and use the property to dispose of treated waste water.

The city sent out 19 letters to property owners in the county stating they might want to buy their land. The letter states that property owners have 30 days to sign a consent agreement to allow soil scientists to test the land and if they do not, the city will file a condemnation action against them.

More than 100 angry residents packed the meeting. Some land owners said the property the city wants is farm land they use to make a living.

"I don't have city water or city sewer and to use your jurisdiction to try and take our land in the county is kinda upsetting," said Julie Hubbs.

Residents suggested they dispose of the treated waste water in the Tennessee River, but the city of Camden said they were denied that option.

The city attorney said they are under a court order from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation to update its waste water treatment plant within 3 years.

"Are we even thinking about our future generation? We are throwing poison on our land," said another upset land owner.

The City Council made a motion to talk with TDEC again about dumping the treated waste water into the Tennessee River. So far, the city has permission to do testing from 11 property owners.
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