Kingston Recovery Update
TVA, local, state and federal agencies continue to work on recovery and clean-up of a release of ash caused by a failure of a coal ash containment dike at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant in East Tennessee.
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TVA mailed a report this week to every household in Roane County, Tenn.
Titled “Report to Our Roane County Neighbors,” the report includes the latest information on the progress of ongoing recovery work related to the ash slide at Kingston Fossil Plant.
Contents include information on the following: TVA’s Community Outreach Center in Kingston; health resources available to residents; local roadways; environmental sampling and testing; root cause analysis; and dredging operations.
The Environmental Protection Agency, the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Tennessee Valley Authority are issuing an advisory regarding boating, swimming and fishing on Watts Bar Reservoir.
Emory River Section
The public is cautioned to avoid recreational use of the lower Emory River in the vicinity of the ash release down to the confluence of the Emory and Clinch Rivers, which includes adjacent coves, inlets, islands, and sand bars. Small vessel traffic is currently channeled through a well-marked navigational lane, but swimming, jet skiing, water skiing and tubing are not advised at this time in these areas. In addition to construction related risks, contact with submerged or floating ash should be avoided, and if ash is contacted it should be washed off with soap and water. Chronic exposure by incidental ingestion and inhalation should also be avoided.
Clinch River and Tennessee River Sections
Water- based recreation on the Clinch and Tennessee Rivers should not be impacted this season and can continue. It is safe to swim, boat and eat most kinds of fish. See TDEC's Web site for more information about already existing fish consumption advisories.
EPA’s advisory map can be found at www.epakingstontva.com. If you require further information or instructions regarding recreational use of Watts Bar Reservoir, please contact:
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, Stephanie Y. Brown at
1-800-564-7577 or 678-575-8505.
TVA Public Information Manager, Barbara Martocci at
The Roane County Health Department at 865-354-1220.
TVA is committed to recovering the ash that was released from Kingston and restoring
the area in a manner that will protect public health and the environment. Available
information indicates the risk of physical health impacts from exposure to Kingston ash
is very low. However, individuals have expressed concerns about impacts to their health as a result of the ash release. The health guideline explains how TVA plans to respond to these concerns.
The June 8 & 9 lane closure originally scheduled on Swan Pond Road has been cancelled. Preliminary work was completed on June 8.
Beginning at 11:00 p.m. Friday, June 12 until the morning of Tuesday, June 16, both lanes of Swan Pond Road will be closed north of the plant entrance. During the closure, traffic will be redirected over Hassler Mill Road. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause the residents of the Swan Pond area.
TVA and the federal Environmental Protection Agency
announced today an EPA Order and Agreement that documents the relationship between TVA and EPA in managing the clean-up of the Kingston ash spill and further ensures that TVA will meet all federal and state environmental requirements in restoring
View Order (PDF)
TVA continues dredging operations to remove ash from the navigation channel of the Emory River — a key milestone in its recovery of the Kingston Fossil Plant ash and remediation of the local environment.
During phase one, TVA will partially clear the river channel to restore flow without disturbing legacy, natural river sediments. Future work to fully restore the river channel to its original depth will occur during the second phase of dredging. Read More.
Phase 1 Dredging Links
TVA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the public and its employees. As part of that commitment, TVA has contracted with a third party to test the air around the Kingston Fossil Plant since shortly after the ash spill ( December 28, 2009), and testing will continue through the completion of the cleanup. To date, the more than 34,000 air samples taken by TVA confirm the Tennessee Department of Health finding that “The particulate matter and metals measured in air near the site are below national and state standards or are less than any levels of concern.” There is no indication of health concerns for area residents or workers. Read More.
Both municipal drinking water and the water sampled from private groundwater wells continue to meet the state standards for drinking water. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) began water quality testing within hours of the event. Read More.
Testing of the Kingston ash samples shows that concentrations of metals are well below the limits for classification as a hazardous waste. The data shows that the concentrations of most metals in the ash are within the range of concentrations found in natural soils in Tennessee or background levels in soils in the local area.
The only exceptions are that two of the 47 samples collected by TVA had Thallium slightly higher (by about 10%) than the range found in Tennessee soils. The overall average for Thallium in the ash falls right in the middle of the range for that element in Tennessee soil.
Extensive nationwide studies of coal ash in recent decades have provided a body of scientific literature that gives expected ranges for these metals. Much of what we have found falls on the low end of those ranges and is more like Tennessee soil.
The Department of Energy, at TVA's request, collected core samples of sediments at eight locations in the Clinch River immediately downstream of the mouth of the Emory River and at two locations in the Emory River. Those samples were analyzed for 23 metals, PCBs, and for chlordane. Because the goal was to find out if PCBs were present in older, deeper sediments, DOE segmented the cores into six inch sections, beginning six inches below the point where the surface deposits stopped and historic deposits began. Then they tested each segment of the core.
DOE detected PCBs in the historic sediment from the Emory River at mile 0.5. Consequently, TVA performed additional random sampling of surface sediments (0-6 inches depth) at eight locations between Emory River mile 0.3 and 0.8. These additional samples were taken at locations 6, 12, 5, 17, 19, 20, 24, and 28 noted on the sediment investigation map. View map.
TVA chose to analyze only the surface samples since those are the most likely sediments to be disturbed by dredging operations if TVA were to dredge that part of the Emory River. At this time, there is no plan to dredge downstream of Emory River mile 1.5. Results for PCBs in the eight surface samples at mile 0.5 were all less than the reporting limit of 0.033 mg/kg. There were several instances of detection of PCBs at extremely low levels (0.010 mg/kg or less). Therefore, if recovery efforts were to disturb surface sediments, legacy PCBs do not appear to be a problem.
Selenium is a naturally occurring mineral element found in rocks and soil. In low level doses it is actually good for the health; most people are exposed to it daily through food, water and even as a vitamin supplement. TVA’s water quality monitoring has not detected levels of selenium in water in the Kingston area that violate standards, and we’ve seen no evidence that selenium is a problem. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, TVA and the State of Tennessee are continuing their sampling and monitoring. Read more
Studies and research conducted or supported by EPA, Electric Power and Research Institute (EPRI), government agencies, and universities indicates that the beneficial uses of coal combustion products have not been shown to present significant risks to human health or the environment. Read more on the EPA's Coal Combustion Products Partnership Web site.
On April 1, 2009, Tom Kilgore, TVA President & Chief Executive Officer, directed Anda Ray, Senior Vice President, Office of Environment & Research, to oversee environmental response actions for the Kingston Ash Spill to ensure that response actions necessary to protect the public health or welfare or the environment are undertaken at Kingston consistent with the National Contingency Plan.
The Community Outreach Center at 509 North Kentucky Street in Kingston remains open from 2 pm to 6 pm Monday through Friday. The local phone number for the Outreach Center is (865) 632-1700.
If residents are unable to come to the center, they can call (800) 257-2675 to report their claims.
TVA is continuing to wash trucks before the vehicles leave the Kingston Plant; this week, two permanent wash stations are being installed to replace the previous temporary system used.
The Roane County Convenience Center on Swan Pond Road is open again to the public.
The update line previously available at (865) 632-7777 has been temporarily discontinued as a result of technical issues related to the elimination of voicemail systems in support of the Knoxville federal district court’s “litigation hold” order. We hope to have the information line working again soon.
Other important phone numbers:
TDEC well testing: (865) 594-6035
General questions or concerns: (865) 717-4006. Note: The voice mail for this number has been deactivated as well.
TVA has submitted its Corrective Action Plan to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Environmental Protection Agency for the recovery efforts at Kingston Fossil Plant. The comprehensive plan outlines how TVA will proceed with planning and implementing all work needed to restore the site of the ash spill while maintaining public health and safety. View the plan. (PDF file 10.3 mb)
As requested by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, TVA has released a variety of information on Kingston Fossil Plant. View the entire set of documentation.
Since January, several actions to decrease the potential for airborne dust issues have been taken. Read More.
Information that is removed from the main Kingston update page is posted to a document archive. View the archive now.
TVA has made significant progress in purchasing properties that were affected by the Dec. 22, 2008 ash spill at its Kingston Fossil Plant and subsequent cleanup activities.
More than 70 properties located near the Kingston plant have now been purchased by TVA. Most of the properties are in the immediate vicinity of the spill site and recovery activities or are adjacent to the Emory River and embayments near the plant.
Kingston Fossil Plant is located at the confluence of the Emory and Clinch Rivers near Kingston, Tennessee.
Kingston is one of TVA’s larger fossil plants. It generates 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to supply the needs of about 670,000 homes in the Tennessee Valley.
Plant construction began in 1951 and was completed in 1955.
For more information about Kingston fossil plant, please visit the Kingston overview page.