Report says water pollution enforcement way down since 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State regulators issued 77 percent fewer enforcement orders against water polluters in 2014 than they did in 2008, according to the nonprofit Tennessee Clean Water Network.

The network has been tracking actions the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation takes against polluters since 2007. In that year, the agency issued 219 enforcement orders. In 2008, it issued 231. But enforcement orders plummeted beginning in 2009, with just 53 issued last year.

It’s not clear why enforcement orders have dropped, but Tennessee Clean Water Network attorney Stephanie Durman said there is no evidence it is because there are fewer violations.

In an emailed statement, TDEC said its goal is compliance with the law, which it works to achieve through various means, including but not limited to enforcement orders.