Mountain residents blame logging company for mud, rockslides - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mountain residents blame logging company for mud, rockslides

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MARION COUNTY, TN (WRCB-TV) -- "Somebody's got to handle this situation because the people of Egypt Hollow--we're tired of it," exclaims Deborah Kennedy.

She's tired of the mudslides every time it rains in her small Marion County community near the city of Whiteside. She says it all started around a year ago when a logging company did work on a nearby mountain for a few months.

"The logging company done it. They've messed up the land up here. They cut all the timber off," says Kennedy.

Egypt Hollow sits at the foot of the mountain. Mud and rocks slide onto the roads, and culverts clog. Kennedy also worries about the well water.

"I'm kind of getting a little bit worried now," states Kennedy. "Church's well's messed up. Brother-in-law's well's messed up. And my sister's well's fixing to get messed up with all this mud." The area doesn't receive city water.

Kennedy hasn't been able to get the logging company to dig a ditch at the top of the hill or do anything to fix the problem permanently. She called the Environmental Protection Agency who in turn sent an official from the Tennessee Department of Forestry. According to Kennedy the official didn't inspect the mountain, only Egypt Hollow. She also says the official lays blame on people riding four-wheelers on the mountain.

"Their big trucks done it and their equipment done it," claims Kennedy. She has a picture of one of the trucks.

Neighbors also say traveling in and out of the area has become treacherous.

"We had to go over on the highway when they were logging and pick up school kids because the bus couldn't get in here," says Bennett.

The county road department clears as much of the mud as possible after each rain. Road superintendent Neil Webb sympathizes with the community but says there's not much more he can do.

"All I can maintain is what's on that right-of-way," explains Webb. "I can't go back on the back of the mountain and fix something someone else messed up."

Webb says the community's only course of action may be to sue the logging company. In the meantime, he says he'll visit the area to see if there's anything else the county can do to help.

Kennedy has started a petition to take to the county mayor in hopes of reaching a resolution. She's still collecting signatures. The logging company couldn't be reached today for comment.

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