UPDATE: Bradley County cemetery has a month to come up with impr - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Bradley County cemetery has 30 days for plan to stop smell

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The owners of a Bradley County cemetery have 30 days to come up with a plan to stop the smell of bodies at two mausoleum sites. 

State officials ordered Sunset Memorial Gardens, 7180  North Lee Highway, to create a plan to make repairs.

"The smell is more likely than not that of decomposing human remains," a consent order issued Wednesday states.

Cemetery staff declined to comment when asked by a Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Thursday.

Inspectors recently found mold and leaks in the chapel roof. A strong odor was emitting from the mausoleum -- an issue that has been ongoing for at least three years.

The state has received complaints at least five times.

In January, the cemetery's owners entered into an agreement with District Attorney General Stephen Crump. The agreement states the cemetery will keep the mausoleum facilities on site and take action remediate the sites as well as ensure the odor is cleared. 

This month inspectors also noted debris was "scattered in the floor, crypt plates were missing and the ceiling of a mausoleum plate room was dripping water onto the floor." An employee told inspectors the air conditioning unit went out in July.

The carpet in the buildings was replaced Aug. 21 with hardwood floors. A state inspector said replacing the flooring would do nothing to stop the smell. 

The cemetery owners paid a $5,000 dollar civil penalty and must now bring in a consultant to outline needed repairs. If the owners don't follow through, the state could suspend their operating license.


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Sunset Memorial Gardens was recently cited by the State Department of Commerce and Insurance for failing to maintain the cemetery.

The owners of the cemetery will have to pay 500 dollar civil penalty.

Inspectors found some of the graves were unmarked, while other were damaged. Some of the marker bases were strewn across the property. Inspectors found many broken pieces of lawn crypts on the grounds. 

Two years ago,  the state shut down Sunset Memorial Gardens after investigators found body fluids were leaking. 

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