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Environmental Stewardship at Gallatin

TVA takes environmental stewardship seriously; it is an important part of our mission of service. At Gallatin – as with every other fossil plant – that means monitoring and maintaining the air and water quality in and around the plant.

Ash Pond Complex

In 2016, TVA and TDEC agreed to begin studies at the Gallatin Fossil Plant (GAF) to:

  • fully characterize the hydrology and geology of the site;
  • identify the soil, surface water, and groundwater impacts by coal combustion residuals (CCR) materials; and
  • assess the quantities and characteristics of CCR materials on-site.

TVA submitted an Environmental Investigation Plan (EIP) in March 2016 for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to review and approve. As various sections of the EIP were approved, TVA began the associated field activities per the TDEC approved plan.

Process / Schedule

Gallatin EIP Process Schedule

Once the studies are complete, TVA will have 60 days to submit an Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) to TDEC for review. Following the review and approval of the EAR, it will be posted on this website. TVA will then develop a Corrective Action/Risk Assessment Plan (CARA) for the site that will be made available for public comment.

In June 2019, TVA and TDEC agreed to a Consent Order that outlined the final closure method of various impoundments at GAF. Under this Consent Order with the state of Tennessee, TVA will close and remove coal combustion residuals (CCR) stored at various impoundments at Gallatin including Ash Pond A, Ash Pond E, Middle Pond A, Bottom Ash Pond and Stilling Ponds B, C, and D.

TVA is also following the 2015 Environmental Protection Agency Final Rule on Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities. Learn more about TVA’s compliance with the CCR Rule.

Non-Registered Site

In June 2019, TDEC issued a Commissioner’s Order that outlined a process for a field demonstration and related activities to evaluate closure methodology and remediation effectiveness at the Non-Registered Site CCR disposal unit. Under this Commissioner’s Order with the state of Tennessee, TVA will prepare a Treatability Test Plan and Field Demonstration Plan prior to field activities commencing. At the completion of this study, the results will be utilized to inform the final closure disposition of the CCR stored at the unit.

Cumberland River Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality

TVA periodically collects and analyzes biological data upstream and downstream of its power plants, including Gallatin, to assess the health and structure of the aquatic communities that our operations could possibly impact. These data include monitoring of the fish, benthic macroinvertebrate (aquatic insect) communities and wildlife visual encounter surveys along the shoreline.

Fish community data are analyzed using the Reservoir Fish Assemblage Index, a series of 12 ecological health-assessment measures. Benthic samples are analyzed using the Reservoir Benthic Index, a similar series of seven health-assessment measures. For each analysis, the individual measures are scored and summed, and these totals provide comparative determinations of the ecological health of the respective fish and aquatic insect communities.

Since 2001, the fish communities in the areas upstream and downstream and within the potential influence zone of Gallatin operations have rated "good” or "fair." The health of the benthic community at downstream sites was demonstrated to be similar or more favorable than upstream sites for each sample year. These results indicate that Gallatin operations are not having an adverse impact on the aquatic community in the Cumberland River near the plant.

TVA operates its Gallatin facility in compliance with water quality standards and permits issued by the State of Tennessee. Water quality samples show that this stretch of Old Hickory Reservoir meets all requirements for domestic and industrial purposes; propagation and maintenance of fish and other aquatic life; recreation in and on the water, including the safe consumption of fish and shellfish; livestock watering and irrigation; navigation; generation of power; propagation and maintenance of wildlife; and the enjoyment of the scenic and aesthetic qualities of water.

Ash Storage

In 2009, TVA committed to convert all of its wet coal ash management facilities to dry ash management at a potential cost of $1.5 to $2 billion.

At Gallatin, TVA is operating a dry ash landfill that was completed in 2016 and is now studying the potential to construct a lateral expansion to that onsite landfill. Work is being done on closure of the active wet pond ash management system to comply with U.S. EPA’s Coal Combustion Residuals rule. Read more about Gallatin Coal Combustion Residuals.

In accordance with its discharge permit issued by the state, TVA regularly performs maintenance inspections. The ash pond dikes have been thoroughly evaluated, and there are no issues with the stability or integrity of the plant’s current ash ponds.