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Kingston recovery effort:

Water testing results

Three days a week, members of TVA’s Environmental Sampling Field Crew take water samples from more than 11 locations near the site of the ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The sampling covers 12 miles of the Emory River, six miles of the Clinch, and five miles of the Tennessee.


Adam Deimling, left, and Brandi Ruth, members of TVA’s Environmental Sampling Field Crew, take samples from the Emory River.

TVA collects real-time data on pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and other criteria and sends samples to certified independent laboratories for analysis.

At the labs, each sample is tested, results are confirmed for quality assurance, and the data are posted on the TVA Web site. As of May 17, the number of samples taken by TVA has topped 1,350 since the Dec. 22 incident.

View TVA test results (PDF)

In addition, the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) has taken more than 160 river samples, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has taken 28 samples. TDEC also has sampled more than 100 private groundwater wells within a four-mile radius of the plant. Each agency does its own sampling, and the analyses are done by certified independent labs.

View TDEC test results

View EPA test results

All of the testing done by TVA, TDEC, and EPA shows that both municipal drinking water and water sampled from private groundwater wells continues to meet the state standards for drinking water.

The nearest downstream municipal water treatment plant to the ash slide is that for the City of Kingston. Since Jan. 6, the City has been sampling intake water and its finished water at the Kingston water treatment plant on a daily basis. No problems have been reported.

View Kingston test results 

TVA’s sampling of untreated river water showed that some metals were elevated just after the incident and again after heavy rainfall events, but subsequent sampling has demonstrated lower amounts of suspended ash, and test results show metals below the safe drinking-water limits set by TDEC.

Recovery operations

TVA, with assistance and review of local, state, and federal agencies, continues to work on recovery and cleanup of the ash spill.

A major milestone in the recovery — dredging ash from the Emory River channel — began on March 19. TVA’s Phase I Dredging Plan was approved by TDEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The plan also was reviewed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Dredged ash will be dewatered and processed on site initially. Permanent disposal plans have not yet been made, but TVA is in the process of identifying and investigating potential off-site locations for ash disposal and has begun a limited test of the removal of the ash from the Kingston site by rail. This test will ensure that TVA uses the best possible processes for loading, containing, transporting, and unloading the ash. EPA and TDEC must approve TVA’s final plans for off-site disposal.

During dredging, TVA is taking water samples continously and testing for turbidity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, and pH to ensure that the activity does not further impact the environment.

TVA’s priorities in the Kingston recovery effort include maintaining the health and safety of the public, recovering the ash and restoring the site, rebuilding trust with the residents of Roane County, and using lessons learned to ensure a spill does not happen again.

Updated information on the Kingston recovery, along with background information and air, water, sediment, and ash sampling results, is available here.


Emory River recreation

While the Emory River is open, recreational boating is limited in the area near Kingston Fossil Plant, and that area continues to be a construction area for the foreseeable future. Recreational boaters should avoid this construction area.

The Tennessee Department of Health fact sheet contains the following statement about recreational impacts from the ash spill: "We are aware that many people are concerned about boating, swimming and fishing. People are advised to avoid contact with the ash, which is in the lower Emory River. At this time, recreation on Watts Bar outside the lower Emory River impact zone has not changed from the condition that existed before the ash spill. It is safe to swim, boat and eat most kinds of fish.

"Please see TDEC's Web site for more information about already existing fish consumption advisories. Monitoring will continue and decisions about appropriate activities will be continually assessed using the current sampling data."




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