Photo courtesy of United Mountain Defense blog

The local media is finally getting to some truth, one week later.

Today's front page KNS report says the EPA has found "very high" levels of arsenic in water samples, along with other heavy metals, one week after TVA said the water samples were fine*.

It says residents should avoid contact with the fly ash sludge materials and gives instructions on what to do if they get contaminated, one week after TVA said the fly ash contained no hazardous materials.

It says area residents who get water from springs or wells should not use the water, one week after other officials told them to just boil their water.

(*TVA still says on their website as of this moment that testing of stream water is within acceptable limits, and they do not mention well or spring water testing.)

Here's the latest EPA incident update.

Here's the latest TVA emergency update.

Visit RoaneViews for the latest citizen reports from around the area.

A Swan Pond resident has started a livejournal blog, and has a good report on last night's meeting.

Southern Beale and Mike Byrd at Enclave are also following media and blog coverage of the disaster.


Some water samples near a massive spill of coal ash are showing high levels of arsenic, and state and federal officials today cautioned residents who use private wells or springs to stop drinking the water.

The article says the independent TVA Inspector General's office is launching an investigation. It also says Bredesen has been briefed and the state will "continue to do what's necessary." Weak.

Tess's picture

Action is needed now for the families impacted

It seems like at the very least TVA ought to immediately relocate the 43 families directly impacted to other suitable living quarters (not motel rooms) because they now admit the cleanup will take years, not weeks. And, let them move back in when/if it becomes safe to do so.

bizgrrl's picture

Yes, it definitely seems TVA

Yes, it definitely seems TVA should be doing a lot to help these families.

Tess's picture

So far, TVA has offered the

So far, TVA has offered the suggestion that affected residents install water sprinklers to keep the ash on their property wet. Now, that is what I call going-out-of-their-way helpful.

WhitesCreek's picture

In fairness

The "boil water" directive was only issued for the folks who were affected by the broken waterline.

TVA screwed up enough without us putting things on them they actually got right.

I have more questions than answers on the toxicity of the sludge. I still think the dangerous stuff goes out the stacks and over to the smokies and North Carolina.

R. Neal's picture

Yes, that was not directed

Yes, that was not directed at TVA. It was directed at "other officials" and local media who repeated it without explaining who was affected or why.

Scott Summit's picture

YouTube - TVA Coal Ash Spill Dec 22 2008

Mello's picture

another good video and write up

from Common Dreams via the Huffington Post


If a dump truck can hold 20 cubic yards of dirt and ash, it will take 265,000 truck loads to haul away all the ash (they are taking it back to the power plant). If they fill one dump truck trip every 5 minutes and work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it will take about 2.5 years to clean up the spill. TVA has been telling the media it will be cleaned up in about 6 weeks - this is a ludicrous claim.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Got leadership?

Why has Governor Bredesen not declared this a natural disaster? This is beyond the ability of ratepayers to pay for. Federal monies are required. It is too big. Where are Senators Alexander and Corker?

I don't see how this is any different than a flood, hurricane, or a tornado. Was it not cost by torrential rain? No cause has been established. And there is no evidence to examine.

There is 7 million tons of coal ash to be move to lined landfills. If the cleanup is $250 to $300 million dollars, how can it be expected to pass that on to ratepayers? TVA had net income in 2006 of $325 million dollars.

How many businesses will go under if the ratepayers have to pay for the cleanup? For example, will Volkswagen still come to Chattanooga if they have to pay much much more than they planned for electricity?

WhitesCreek's picture

We could have used your help this week, 9

You could have run around in circles screaming,

"The ground is falling! The ground is falling!"

Anonymously Nine's picture

How much will it cost?

What is your solution? So far what is the plan?

WhitesCreek's picture

It wasn't caused by rain or

It wasn't caused by rain or cold or anything else that is out of the ordinary for normal predictable weather around here. it was either an engineering. construction, or maintenence failure. Cost recovery should come from TVA funding. I would probably start with management bonuses and any compensation received by Board members.

Anonymously Nine's picture


Cost recovery should come from TVA funding.

You have no idea about this do you? Where do you think said TVA funding comes from? The government?

It comes from ratepayers.

Your prejudice of coal power has blinded you. How can businesses make it if we get hit with a huge rate increase?

Grow up.

gonzone's picture


"Your prejudice of coal power has blinded you."

Yeah, this wonderful "clean coal" is the shitz, so just STFU!

And insinuating that an overpaid CEO should be held accountable and penalized in his pocketbook is a damnable act of attack against the good rate payers of TVA, so once again, you're soooo wrong so STFU!!
[/removing tongue from cheek]

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

Rachel's picture

Kilgore said yesterday TVA

Kilgore said yesterday TVA had some kind of insurance that would cover most of the cost. I was suprised to hear that, and would like to know more about it.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Hope so

Kilgore said yesterday TVA had some kind of insurance that would cover most of the cost. I was suprised to hear that, and would like to know more about it.

I hope that insurance isn't bonds the ratepayers have to pay for.

R. Neal's picture

Bump: Arsenic found in

Bump: Arsenic threatens wells:


Mello's picture

The NY Times coverage

Anonymously Nine's picture

Jack Mac on top of the news, sort of...okay not really...

Great. Just great.

Sooner or later they will have to tell us what this will cost.

The KNS buried this at the bottom of the latest news story in the "Business Section", you know what that means, "No cost estimates are yet available. But a cleanup in a similar Pennsylvania spill in 2005 into the Delaware River — one-tenth the size of the Kingston spill — cost $37 million for a utility there to remediate."

Uh, $37 million time 10 is...YOU CAN NOT BE SERIOUS.

Um, shouldn't that be a headline?


The KNS, the best media money can buy.

Factchecker's picture

Sooner or later they will

Sooner or later they will have to tell us what this will cost.

The only thing you seem to be bothered with by this whole disaster, besides all of the conspiracy opportunities that must really delight you, is the immediate dollar cost to your pocket. Then you turn right around and boast about how wonderfully cheap coal power is.

Coal is cheap only because of its externalized costs and risks as exposed by this spill and are otherwise unnoticed by most of the public. People like you are still oblivious to the most severe of those costs and risks, such as GHG emissions and mountain top removal mining. Those are the real scandals in the long run.

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