tvawidowscreek

breaking news, more later…

Here it is in Huffington Post:

SECOND TVA SPILL: Dam Breaks at Alabama Coal Plant

Here we have in in the Tennessean:

Second TVA coal ash pond ruptures

By ANNE PAINE • Staff Writer • January 9, 2009

Alabama environmental officials were on their way as of 10:15 a.m.
Central Time to an spill at TVA’s Widows Creek coal-fired power plant in
northeastern Alabama.

TVA confirmed an ash-related spill at a second TVA plant, this time at
its Widows Creek plant in northeastern Alabama.

“I had heard that that’s the case,” confirmed Barbara Martocci, TVA
spokesman who was at the Kingston plant in Tennessee.

Scott Hughes, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Environmental
Management said, “The only thing we’ve got right now is that there was a
release from a gypsum treatment operation.”

“We do understand that some of the material has reached Widows Creek.”
The creek from which TVA’s coal burning plant gets its name, crosses the
plant property. Gypsum is one of the byproducts when special filters
capture and treat ash. It can be sold for use in wallboard, but markets
have been slow and it like more standard ash can build up in waste ponds.

“We’re in the process of gathering more info and getting a full report.”

Kingston is the scene of a TVA ash pond that ruptured: Early on the
morning of Dec. 22, more than a billion gallons of sludge flowed out of
the pond, damaging a dozen homes and creating environmental havoc along
the Emory River.

The Widows Creek Fossil Plant is located on Guntersville Reservoir on
the Tennessee River. It has eight coal-fired units and was completed in
1965. The plant consumes about 10,000 tons of coal a day. The ash from
that coal was in the pond that broke there.

TVA coal ash slide – UPDATES

December 27th, 2008

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The only good news in this is that the media is picking this up, it’s not going to be “disappeared.”

From the “field” or from the slime, muck & yuck, here are updates.  Special thanks to United Mountain Defense, John Walthen, Nicholas Mann, Tom Swinford, Chris Irwin, Donna Lisenby, Dot Griffith, and all those doing tremendous work getting the word and pictures out (whose names haven’t shown up in the emails I’ve received).  This is a clear example of the importance of the internet.

Here’s from The Tennessean:

Thallium, lead levels are up near TVA spill

TVA triples spill estimate

Would you believe 5.4 million cubic yards?   Can you even imagine that?

A video from the scene by people taking water samples on the Emory River:

There is a great collection of photos on Photobucket:

TVA coal ash photos here

A general view of the devastation, being downplayed by TVA and the coal industry:

Here you can watch the cops clearing out the area (at the end), can’t have this showing up on YouTube, don’t cha know:

And this photo by Dot Griffith puts it all together:

tva-dotgriffith

TVA ash spill in NYT

December 26th, 2008

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Clean coal?  Ask anyone near TVA’s Kingston Plant… THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL!

Yesterday’s New York Times had the TVA ash spill front and center:

Coal Ash Spill Revives Issues of Hazards

Clean up is going to be a long, slow, costly process, and can it even be cleaned up?

A morning flight over the disaster area showed some cleanup activity along a road and the railroad tracks that take coal to the facility, both heaped in sludge, but no evidence of promised skimmers or barricades on the water to prevent the ash from sliding downstream. The breach occurred when an earthen dike, the only thing separating millions of cubic yards of ash from the river, gave way, releasing a glossy sea of muck, four to six feet thick, dotted with icebergs of ash across the landscape. Where the Clinch River joined the Tennessee, a clear demarcation was visible between the soiled waters of the former and the clear brown broth of the latter.

And here’s a review of the “Issues of Hazards” raised in the article:

But a draft report last year by the federal Environmental Protection Agency found that fly ash, a byproduct of the burning of coal to produce electricity, does contain significant amounts of carcinogens and retains the heavy metal present in coal in far higher concentrations. The report found that the concentrations of arsenic to which people might be exposed through drinking water contaminated by fly ash could increase cancer risks several hundredfold.

Similarly, a 2006 study by the federally chartered National Research Council found that these coal-burning byproducts “often contain a mixture of metals and other constituents in sufficient quantities that they may pose public health and environmental concerns if improperly managed.” The study said “risks to human health and ecosystems” might occur when these contaminants entered drinking water supplies or surface water bodies.

In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed stricter federal controls of coal ash, but backed away in the face of fierce opposition from utilities, the coal industry, and Clinton administration officials. At the time, the Edison Electric Institute, an association of power utilities, estimated that the industry would have to spend up to $5 billion in additional cleanup costs if the substance were declared hazardous. Since then, environmentalists have urged tighter federal standards, and the E.P.A. is reconsidering its decision not to classify the waste as hazardous.

And regarding coal ash dump pollution:

Another 2007 E.P.A. report said that over about a decade, 67 towns in 26 states had their groundwater contaminated by heavy metals from such dumps.