Friday, December 26, 2008

File a Complaint with the EPA

I have down-loaded a complaint page from the Region 4 Environmental Protection Agency website. If you are concerned about the spill from the TVA site on Monday, December 22, in the State of Tennessee, it will help empower any action by the EPA and possible Justice Department against the person or persons responsible for letting this toxic spill occur.

Report an Environmental Violation
OMB #2020-0032
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Date of Incident: The Night of December 22, 2008 the failures started, on December 23, 2008 Roane County, Tennessee residents awoke to a Coal-Ash Disaster.

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 Partnerships Contact Us 12/26/2008 3:08 PM TVA Ups Fly Ash Spill Estimate Date Published: Friday, December 26th, 2008 The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) now says that 5.4 million cubic yards of potentially toxic fly ash was released from a retention pond at its Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, TN when a dam burst there early Monday morning.

According to the Knoxville News, that’s triple the estimate of 1.7 million cubic yards the TVA released earlier this week. The TVA said it could take months, if not years, to clean up the Tennessee fly ash spill. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was supervising the cleanup, and was also trying to determine if the area engulfed by the fly ash should be deemed a Superfund site.

The Tennessee fly ash spill occurred around 1:00 a.m. after a wall holding back 80 acres of sludge from the TVA coal plant in central Tennessee broke. Though the exact cause of the accident was not known, it was thought that six inches of rain over the previous 10 days and overnight temperatures in the teens contributed to the dam breach.

The TVA said that up to 400 acres of land had been coated by the sludge, making it 48 times larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

The fly ash spill damaged 15 homes. All the residents were evacuated, but at least three homes were deemed uninhabitable. The spill also clogged the nearby Emory River, which provides drinking water for millions of people living downstream.

In the days after the spill, hundreds of fish were seen floating dead downstream from the plant The environmental scope of the disaster is still not known.

Fly ash is one of the waste products generated when coal is burned.

Studies have shown that fly ash contains significant quantities of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium, which can cause cancer and neurological problems. According to The New York Times, a 2006 study by the National Research Council found that coal-burning byproducts such as fly ash contain these toxins in amounts large enough to “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.
, The TVA said its initial water quality tests showed no threat to drinking water.

However, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has yet to complete its own water testing.

At least one environmental group, Greenpeace, is calling for a criminal investigation into the TVA fly ash spill. “Every facility like this is supposed to have a spill contingency plan to prevent this kind of disaster,” Rick Hind, Greenpeace Legislative Director said in a press release.

“The authorities need to get to the bottom of what went wrong and hold the responsible parties accountable.” Similar spills have resulted in felony charges, the release noted. Apparently, the fly ash pond at the TVA Kingston plant had a history of safety problems. In the days following the spill, the TVA released inspection reports showing there had been two other breaches of the same fly ash pond during the previous six years. A report in The Tennessean also said the plant’s neighbors had reported previous “baby blowouts” that caused less severe contamination. This entry was posted on Friday, December 26th, 2008 at 7:51 am and is filed under Legal News, Health Concerns, Toxic Substances, Accident.

Specific driving/walking/boating directions (from nearest intersection, main road, waterway or supply navigational coordinates, if necessary): (4000 characters maximum, text will wrap automatically) Emory River,

* I understand that I am providing the information in this tip or complaint to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a federal agency with the authority to investigate and seek penalties for certain violations of law. I understand that any information I provide in this tip or complaint must be true and accurate to the best of my knowledge. I also understand that EPA may review any information provided in this tip or complaint to determine whether or not an investigation into the matter is warranted.
When you have completed the form, click the "Send Comment" button to submit your report. Thank you for your help with protecting the environment.

DEP - Department of Environmental ProtectionDEQ - Department of Environmental QualityDEM - Department of Environmental Management

Falsified - The tampering, misrepresentation, or otherwise altering of documents, permits, certifications, or any other records required by environmental statutes and/or regulations.

OMB Control No. 2020-0032
The public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average ½ hour per response. Send comments on the Agency's need for this information, the accuracy of the provided burden estimates, and any suggested methods for minimizing respondent burden, including through the use of automated collection techniques to the Director, Collection Strategies Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2822T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20460. Include the OMB control number in any correspondence. Do not send the completed form to this address.

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Last updated on Friday, November 7th, 2008.

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