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Dangerous Toxins Contaminate Emory River

Recent reports reveal that 2.66 million pounds of 10 toxic pollutants contaminated the Emory River when TVA’s Kingston plant spilled 1 billion gallons of coal ash in 2008.

The Toxics Release Inventory, filed by TVA with the Environmental Protection Agency, reports high levels of toxic pollutants arsenic, barium, chromium, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, vanadium and zinc in Tennessee’s Emory River.

These toxins pose a serious threat to human health. For instance, arsenic and chromium are carcinogenic substances. Mercury can cause severe damage to the brain and other organs as well as serious fetus complications. Barium can cause gastrointestinal issues or when dissolved in water and ingested it can change heart rhythms and may even lead to paralysis or death.

“The enormous increase in heavy metals discharged by TVA is very troubling. First, many of these metals bio-accumulate and pose significant risks to human and environmental health. Second, TVA has repeatedly attempted to hide the potential toxicity of the coal ash. For example, TVA’s Anda Ray said to 60 Minutes host Leslie Stahl, ‘I’d say that the constituents, the things that are in the coal ash, are the same things that are naturally occurring in soil and rock.’ But if you compare Kingston discharges from 2007 to 2008 you see an astronomical increase in at least 10 very dangerous metals. If it wasn’t for EIP bringing the data and facts forward, the public would never learn the truth from TVA.”
-Donna Lisenby, Upper Watagua Riverkeeper

The 2.66 million pounds of pollutants contaminating the Emory River is over a half a million pounds more than the total amount of discharges from all U.S. power plants combined into surface water in 2007.

There are no federal regulations regarding coal ash disposal or the discharge of toxic leachate into our waterways. The EPA has recently announced that it will propose regulations for coal ash disposal in December.

Click here to read the Environmental Integrity Project’s Press Release.

For More information click the following links:



Washington Business Journal

Knoxville News Sentinel

Chattanooga Free Times Press

Yahoo News

US Politics Today

Nashville Business Journal





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