Front Porch Blog

TVA responses to coal waste spill questions

Wednesday Dec. 24 —
Q — We understand residents are being told to boil water before drinking. This is not going to protect people from heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants found in fly ash.
A– It is my understanding that there are a limited number of residents that the local water utility has advised to boil water. These homes were provided water from a spring via a gravity feed supply from a location in the hills well above the Kingston plant. The ash-slide damaged that gravity fed line and a temporary connection has been installed from another public water supply source that was not affected by the ash-slide. — Terry Johnson, TVA Communications

Tuesday Dec. 23 —

Q– What kind of drinking water monitoring is taking place? Where and how frequently?
A — TVA has 11 sampling locations in the river. Analysis shows that all materials – heavy metals, mercury, arsenic, Etc. are below drinking water threshold limits at the water plant.
Q — Will advisories go out concerning drinking water?
A — If necessary, yes, but presently they are not.
Q — What will TVA advise people downstream from this spill to do about drinking water?
A — TVA will work with the city of Kingston and local emergency management officials if notifications about drinking water are necessary.,
Q — The size of this spill — 524.9 million gallons is the number we worked out from your 2.6 million cubic yards — Is this accurate?
A — No, this was not a liquid spill. The 2.6 million cubic yards is the amount of ash that was in the dry cell when the event occurred. We cannot yet say exactly how much was released. Much of it still remains on land and is not in the water.
Q — As you know, the Inez, KY spill of Oct 11, 2000 was 300 million gallons and was called the largest environmental disaster east of the Mississippi.
A — They are very different. We have seen no fish kills, but we will continue to monitor to make Sure we know the environmental impacts of the ash slide.
(NOTE: News videos of fish kills have been posted. See below)
Q — In what ways are the two spills similar, and how are they different? Is this now the largest environmental disaster east of the Mississippi?
A — We can’t tell you at this point any comparisons – we can say that we are working hard to contain the ash, remove it and temporarily store it until we determine where it can be disposed of.
Q — Thank you

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