Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Huge Environmental Disaster in Tennessee

There was a huge and terrible environmental disaster in Tennessee on Monday, Dec 22. The location is only 200 miles as the crow files from here yet we have heard nothing about this!

The Tennessee Valley Authority, better known as TVA, has a coal-burning power plant located near Harriman, Tennessee, along Interstate 40 between Knoxville and Nashville. The stuff that is left over after TVA burns their coal is called coal ash.

Coal ash contains mercury and dangerous heavy metals like lead and arsenic - materials found naturally in coal are concentrated in the ash.

TVA has a huge mountain of this coal waste material stored in a gigantic pile next to their Harriman (Kingston) power plant, alongside a tributary of the Tennessee River.

On Monday morning Dec. 22 around 1:00 am, the earthen retaining wall around this mountain of coal ash failed and approximately 500 million gallons of nasty black coal ash flowed into tributaries of the Tennessee River - the water supply for Chattanooga TN and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

This Tennessee TVA spill is over 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, if local news accounts are correct. This is a huge environmental disaster of epic proportions.

Here is better aerial footage, but you have to watch a commercial first. Go here, then scroll down to the "Most Popular" section and find the button that says "aerial footage." The big hunks and chunks in the river are mounds of coal ash. The local media are downplaying the spill, but the Nashville Tennessean has a decent article.

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