2021 Tennessee Code
Title 69 - Waters, Waterways, Drains and Levees
Chapter 7 - Water Management
Part 3 - Tennessee Water Resources Information Act
§ 69-7-307. Violations — Orders — Penalties — Hearings — Injunction

Universal Citation: TN Code § 69-7-307 (2021)

    1. Whenever the commissioner has reason to believe that a person is withdrawing water without having a valid registration, or has supplied false or materially misleading information to the department or has violated any order or rule promulgated pursuant to this part, the commissioner may cause a written administrative order to be delivered to the alleged violator. The order shall specify the provision of this part or rule or order alleged to be violated, the facts alleged to constitute a violation thereof, and 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 board may review such final order on the same grounds upon which a court of the state may review default judgments.

  1. Except as otherwise expressly provided, any order issued by or under authority of this part 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.

  2. Any person who violates or fails to comply with any provision of this part, any order of the commissioner or board issued pursuant to this part or any rule, regulation, or standard adopted pursuant to this part shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) per day for each day of violation. Each day such violation continues is a separate violation.

  3. In addition to the commissioner bringing an action in any court of competent jurisdiction, a civil penalty may be assessed in the following manner:

    1. The commissioner may issue an assessment against any person responsible for the violation;

    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 before the board 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;

    3. Whenever any order or assessment has become final because of a person's failure to appeal the commissioner's order or 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 order or assessment as a confession of judgment in the amount of the assessment; and

    4. 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. The harm done or potential for harm to the regulatory program by the violation;

      3. The economic benefit gained by the violator;

      4. The amount of effort put forth by the violator to avoid or to remedy the violation; and

      5. Any unusual or extraordinary enforcement costs incurred by the commissioner.

  4. Any hearing or rehearing brought before the board shall be conducted in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5.

  5. The commissioner may also initiate an action in any court of competent jurisdiction seeking a judgment for any unpaid penalties.

  6. When there is reason to believe that a person has violated, or is about to violate, any of the provisions of this part or orders issued under this part, the commissioner may institute proceedings in the appropriate court for injunctive relief.

  7. Any person intentionally violating, or failing, neglecting, or refusing to comply with, any of the provisions of this part or rules or regulations commits a Class C misdemeanor. Each day upon which such violation occurs is a separate offense.
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