2020 Tennessee Code
Title 69 - Waters, Waterways, Drains and Levees
Chapter 10 - Well Drilling
§ 69-10-110. Violations — Enforcement — Penalties

Universal Citation: TN Code § 69-10-110 (2020)
    1. Whenever the commissioner has reason to believe that a violation of this chapter or regulations pursuant to this chapter has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur, the commissioner may cause a written complaint to be delivered to the alleged violator or violators. The complaint shall specify the provision or provisions of this chapter, regulation, or order alleged to be violated or about to be violated, the facts alleged to constitute a violation of this chapter, regulation, or order, may order that corrective action be taken within a reasonable time to be prescribed in such order, and shall inform the violators of the opportunity for a hearing.
    2. Any such order shall become final and not subject to review unless the person or persons named in the order request by written petition a hearing no later than thirty (30) days after the date such order is delivered; provided, that the commissioner may review such final order, on the same grounds upon which a court of the state may review default judgments.
  1. The commissioner, upon finding that the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires immediate action, may, without prior notice, or without preceding the action with a hearing, issue an order requiring that such action be taken as the commissioner deems necessary under the circumstances. A person to whom such an order is directed shall comply immediately pending the opportunity for a prompt hearing.
  2. Except as otherwise expressly provided, any notice, complaint, order, or other instrument issued by or under authority of this chapter may be served on any person by the commissioner or any person designated by the commissioner, by certified mail, or in accordance with Tennessee statutes authorizing service of process in civil actions.
  3. Any person who violates or fails to comply with any provision of this chapter, any order of the commissioner issued pursuant to this chapter, or any rule, regulation, or standard adopted pursuant to this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) per day for each day of violation. Each day such violation continues is a separate violation. In addition, such person shall also be liable for any damages to the state resulting from the violation, without regard to whether any civil penalty is assessed.
  4. Any civil penalty or damages shall be assessed in the following manner:
    1. The commissioner may issue an assessment against any person responsible for the violation or damages;
    2. Any person against whom an assessment has been issued may secure a review of such assessment by filing with the commissioner a written petition setting forth the grounds and reasons for the objections and asking for a hearing in the matter involved. If a petition for review of the assessment is not filed within thirty (30) days after the date the assessment is served, the violator shall be deemed to have consented to the assessment and it shall become final; and
    3. Whenever any assessment has become final because of a person's failure to appeal the commissioner's assessment, the commissioner may apply to the appropriate court for a judgment and seek execution of such judgment. The court, in such proceedings, shall treat the failure to appeal such assessment as a confession of judgment in the amount of the assessment.
  5. In assessing a civil penalty, the following factors may be considered:
    1. The harm done or potential for harm to the public health or the environment;
    2. Whether the civil penalty imposed will be a substantial economic deterrent to the illegal activity;
    3. The economic benefit gained by the violator;
    4. The amount of effort put forth by the violator to remedy this violation; and
    5. Any unusual or extraordinary enforcement costs incurred by the commissioner.
  6. Damages to the state may include any reasonable expenses incurred in investigating and enforcing violations of this chapter, or any other actual damages caused by the violation.
  7. Any person violating, or failing, neglecting, or refusing to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter or rules or regulations commits a Class C misdemeanor. Each day upon which such violation occurs is a separate offense.
  8. No warrant, presentment, or indictment arising under this chapter shall be issued except upon application by the commissioner or upon such application authorized in writing.
  9. Any hearing or rehearing brought before the commissioner shall be conducted in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5.
  10. When there is reason to believe that a person has violated, or is about to violate, any of the provisions of this chapter or any license or orders issued under this chapter, the commissioner may institute proceedings in the appropriate court for injunctive relief.

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