TVA Says 2/3rds of Coal Ash from Last Year's Spill Cleaned UpNov 17, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is stating that most of the coal ash “deemed critical” following last year’s historic spill, has been cleaned up, said WDEF. The authority said some two-thirds of the “critical” spill has been cleaned out of the Emory River
The catastrophic fly ash spill took place last December and released an unimaginable 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic coal sludge, dumping toxins into Tennessee’s Emory and Clinch rivers and the 300 acres surrounding the TVA’s Kingston plant. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report states that some “potentially toxic pollutants,” such as mercury and arsenic, found in coal ash, could present serious problems.
Mike Scott, the recovery project’s operations manager said, speaking to Chattanooga's Engineers club, "We had some heavy rains earlier after the spill had occurred which put some of the ash and washed it further down river which is one of the reasons why we're trying so hard to get it out before the Spring come next year," quoted WDEF. According to Scott, three million cubic yards of the 5.4 million cubic yards of fly ash were labeled "critical," and should be fully cleaned up by spring 2010, reported WDEF.
Earlier this year we wrote about how information pointing to “significantly higher cancer risks” for those living near coal-fired power plant ash dumps was allegedly covered up by the recent Bush Administration, citing a report by EnvironmentalIntegrity.org. The massive TVA spill involved over one billion gallons of toxic coal sludge and ravaged the environment, the economy, and the lives and health of the families, wildlife, and aquatic life living in the area. KnoxNews previously noted that the toxic sludge destroyed three homes and damaged about two-dozen others. The report also states that the pollutants can converge in considerable quantities, which are released into waterways or groundwater, said the Tennessean.
Numerous studies have concluded that coal dumps leach dangerous toxins into the environment that can cause cancer, birth defects, and other serious health outcomes in water and wildlife populations, including frightening guarantees of developing cancer from drinking contaminated water and suffering damage to the liver, kidney, lungs and other organs from toxic metal exposure, such as cadmium, cobalt, lead, and other pollutants far above levels considered safe,” said Environmental Integrity. The group noted that the danger to wildlife and ecosystems is “off the charts, with one contaminant—boron—expected to leach into the environment at levels two thousand times thresholds generally considered to be safe.”
The report also discusses cases in which the toxin has killed aquatic wildlife, contaminated wells, and adversely affected wildlife, reported the Tennessean, with the causes linked to coal ash wastewater. The waste has been both accidentally and “routinely” released as a result of coal-fired plant daily operations, the Tennessean noted. “Many of the common pollutants found in coal combustion wastewater (e.g., selenium, mercury, and arsenic) are known to cause environmental harm and can potentially represent a human health risk,” said the report, quoted the Tennessean.