Thursday, December 25, 2008

TVA Must Relocate Families Displaced By Coal Ash Spill

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has no choice but to relocate the families from the 15 homes that were flooded by the coal ash spill in Kinston, Tennessee on Dec 23. A dam containing coal fly ash that was deposited in a huge retention pond broke and released 1.7 million cubic yards of fly ash in 300 million gallons of sludge and water. The contents of the coal ash from the Kingston Fossil Plant inlcude heavy metals like arsenic, lead, selenium, thallium, cadmium, mercury and other contaminans. EPA does not list coal ash as a contaminant. It is estimated to cost $5 billion to clean up this ash if EPA declared it hazardous.

Ash is collected at power plants from the boiler and is collected when exhaust from the burning process is cleaned, before it goes out the smokestack. The ash ponds are north of the power plant and the Emory River. The sludge ran down to the neaby residential area north of the pond area and then spilled into a tributary to the Emory River, which feeds into the Clinch River. The TVA should not hesitate in this matter or the consequences will be severe in terms of litigation, human suffering and public relations. The homes are clearly uninhabitable and the groundwater nearby is completely contaminated. The people need to be completely compensated for their losses and provided with equivalent residences nearby. (The New York Times, 12/25/08) Photo: J. Miles Carey/Knoxville News Sentinel, via Associated Press

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