Displaying items by tag: coal ash contamination
TVA solicits public input following release of environmental assessment for Bull Run Fossil Plant decommission
CLAXTON — Tennessee Valley Authority plans to close its Bull Run Fossil Plant (BRF) in Anderson County, but it’s still looking for public input on what comes next.
“As a large, inflexible coal unit with medium operating costs and a high forced outage rate, BRF does not fit current and likely future portfolio needs,” the federal utility said in a draft Environmental Assessment.
TVA is looking at three different options for the future of the structures still standing on the site by the Clinch River near Oak Ridge: taking down all structures; taking down some of them; or leaving everything standing. A recent report lays out the environmental consequences of each of these actions. The report, in draft form, is against that third choice, listing it as only an option for the sake of comparison.
“If the facility is left in the “as-is” condition, it likely would present a higher risk than Alternatives A or B for the potential to contaminate soil and groundwater as systems and structures degrade. As such, this alternative is not a reasonable alternative,” the draft states.
TVA stated its considering removing “all or most of the buildings and structures” on a 250-acre area. After closing the plant, but before any demolitions, TVA will begin by removing components that may be used at other TVA sites, draining of oil and fluids from equipment, taking ash out of the boilers, removing information technology assets, removing plant records and other tasks.
The Bull Run Environmental Assessment is 170 pages long and available for public review. It doesn’t directly tackle the coal ash storage conundrum that has grabbed the attention of politicians, nearby residents and environmental activists, because that issue involves separate regulations.
CLAXTON — Even though TVA is about to retire Bull Run Fossil Plant, water pollution issues related to it are still up for debate.
A water discharge permit hearing took place Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation building, 761 Emory Valley Road in Oak Ridge.
The permit would, if approved, allow releases of “cooling water, process wastewater and storm water runoff” from Bull Run Fossil Plant into the Clinch River and operation of a cooling water intake system. Environmental groups have concerns.
Tennessee Valley Authority plans to retire Bull Run Fossil plant by 2023. Over several years and at meetings, both connected to TVA and organized by activist groups, citizens have voiced concerns about water quality issues due to the continued coal ash waste TVA stores on the site. In advance of this meeting, representatives of the Sierra Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Voices, Statewide Coalition for Community eMpowerment and Center for Biological Diversity all signed a letter asking for TDEC to set standards for water pollution from coal ash based on available technology.
This story will be updated.
Report: TVA’s Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis ranks No. 10 in most contaminated U.S. sites
This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.
The Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal ash dumps in Memphis rank among the worst in the nation for contamination of groundwater with cancer-causing toxins, according to a new report that relied on the power provider’s own records.
TVA’s coal ash dumps at the now-defunct Allen Fossil Plant rank as the 10th worst contaminated sites in the country in a report released earlier this month that examined groundwater monitoring data from coal-fired plant operators, including TVA.
TVA’s own monitoring data shows its Memphis dumps are leaking arsenic at levels nearly 300 times safe drinking water limits. Unsafe levels of boron, lead and molybdenum are also being recorded there.
The report, prepared and published by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice, shows that coal ash dumps at every TVA coal-fired facility across Tennessee are leaking dangerous contaminants at unsafe levels, including arsenic, cobalt, lithium, molybedenum, boron, lead and sulfate, into groundwater.
Tennessee Valley Authority used a mix of coal ash and dirt for fill during construction of a playing field that was later leased to Anderson County and the local Optimist Club for public use, reported Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
She had earlier reported an adjacent playground was contaminated by coal ash byproducts, including heavy metals and multiple other toxins. The contaminants likely originated from coal-ash piles at the nearby Bull Run Fossil Plant.
Anderson County and the Claxton Optimist Club operate the playground and sports fields, which are still owned by TVA.
The playground was built about 20 years ago, during which time coal ash disposal was lightly regulated. The disposal of coal ash from facilities such as Bull Run coal plant, which will be closed by 2023, has proven a major environmental problem and challenge for utilities across the country.
Testing by independent Duke University researchers indicates a playground in the Claxton community contains dangerous levels of coal-ash byproducts.
The playground is near the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Bull Run steam plant, which has historically used vast amounts of coal to produce electricity and stored the resultant coal ash in huge landfills near the facility on Melton Hill reservoir near Oak Ridge. The plant will be decommissioned within two years, but questions remain about how TVA will handle the tons of remnant coal ash produced over the lifetime of the plant.
Duke University researchers sampled soil from the site, and results showed high levels of heavy metals and other toxins typically present in coal ash.
TVA maintains its testing has not detected harmful levels of contaminants in the area, but the News Sentinel’s Jamie Satterfield, who was been relentless in her investigations of TVA coal-ash policies and the disastrous Kingston coal slurry spill of 2008, noted that “There are no human health guidelines, however, for substances like coal ash that combine many toxins or radioactive metals.”