Questions About East Tenn. Coal Ash Cleanup

Aug 23, 2012

KINGSTON, Tenn. (AP.WMOT) — Four years after a massive coal ash spill in East Tennessee, officials still aren’t sure how to complete the cleanup of the two East Tennessee riverbeds impacted by the disaster.

An estimated 500,000 cubic yards of ash remains at the bottom of the Emory and Clinch rivers following a 2008 spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant.

At a community meeting Tuesday night at Roane County High School, an official with the EPA told residents the options are to leave the submerged ash alone, dredge it up, or cap it.

The EPA says dredging would risk disturbing radioactive materials at the bottom of the rivers, a legacy of decades of nuclear weapons production in the area. County Commissioner Bobby Collier says local residents are wary of the dredging option.

“You know I happen to drink that water too, (Laughs) so I don’t want that to happen and I don’t think most people do. I think they would be in favor more of capping, or maybe to get some more out and then cap it.'

Collier says his constituents are pleased that the EPA and TVA appear committed to finding a way to complete the cleanup.