Though the T.V.A. told residents of Harriman, TN that their drinking water was safe following the December 22nd spill, and backed up their claim with the results of water quality testing conducted at the Kingston water facility intake (a site six miles from the spill site, and approximately half a mile upstream of the ash flow on the Tennessee River), the results of preliminary tests conducted by the Upper Watauga Riverkeeper and partners from Appalachian State University indicate TVA’s data does not tell the whole story.
United Mountain Defense volunteers, who have been working with affected community members since the disaster occurred, have reported talking with several people who have become ill since the spill. Many residents reportedly drank potentially contaminated groundwater out of wells and springs for days following the spill.
The widespread reports of sickness are not necessarily surprising in light of the recently released data from Appalachian Voices, which showed arsenic levels at 30 to 300 times maximum drinking water limit in samples taken near the spill site. In addition to arsenic, eight other heavy metals were found at raised levels in all samples.
50 residents, concerned about their health, wish to be screened for heavy metal exposure.
Though essential to determining whether exposure to heavy metals has occurred since the spill, these tests are unfortunately very costly, and must be done within a short window of time. After only 27 days, evidence of heavy metals leaves the system.
Faced with damaged homes and lost property values, many residents cannot afford the $500 of up front costs the clinic requires to conduct a full screening. To cover the cost of these tests, a total of $25,000 needs to be raised in a matter of days.
On behalf of the residents of Harriman, and the work of United Mountain Defense, we ask that you consider donating to help subsidize the cost of these tests. The money is needed NOW, so that these tests can be done for as many affected people as possible as soon as possible, before the window closes.
Donations can be sent to United Mountain Defense through their PayPal account