TDEC: Chattanooga construction company fails to clean up lead before selling new homes

EPA crews cleaning up lead in Highland Park. Credit: WTVC

TDEC says a Chattanooga home builder didn’t do enough to sample and clean up lead contamination according to a new order issued September 19.

TDEC is requiring GreenTech LLC to sample and remediate possible lead contamination in all 108 properties they built in and near Jefferson Heights in Chattanooga.

“It’s ridiculous they haven’t come out and told us anything about that since they’ve known since 2016,” said homeowner, Seattle Thompson.

Thompson says neither GreenTech nor her realtor told her about the possible lead contamination.

In September of 2018, the EPA moved five neighborhoods in South Chattanooga to the National Priority List for cleanup. The agency found dangerous levels of lead in the soil. Lead poses a health risk, especially for children.

Records show contamination is from byproduct of old foundries.

“I do have a dog so if there’s lead in our dirt, no one told me so I don’t know if I’m save,” said Thompson.

TDEC says GreenTech is the only company they’ve had to issue an order to to uphold their responsibly for cleanup. TDEC says they’ve worked with more than 10 companies that followed their obligation to sample and remove the lead in the soil.

We asked the home builder why construction continued when the EPA alerted them of possible lead contamination in 2016. You can see the original citation of the known lead in this order.

GreenTech didn’t answer our question directly. They say they’ve sold nearly all of the properties they built. They say they’ve been working with TDEC for over a year to meet their standards.

GreenTech says they are set to begin remediation October 7. TDED says 56 of the 108 properties have been sampled for lead so far. We’ve requested that information.

The full statement, issued by Chris Anderson with GreenTech, is below:

The notice from TDEC is standard for sites in former industrial-heavy cities like Chattanooga and areas like this are common in our city. There are no penalties or fines being assessed, which there would be if we were not in compliance. GreenTech did not pollute the lots in question, and nearly all of them are no longer owned by us. No one is alleging otherwise. Despite this, we have been working with TDEC for over a year to remediate the lots. We plan to continue doing so until the land is to their standards. The work they lay out is what we offered to do in writing and that is scheduled to begin on Oct. 9 of this year. Our only goal is to be a good partner to our community that we love so much and will continue to serve for many years to come.

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