Bull Run

New Coal Ash Storage on Hold at Bull Run

June 17, 2020 -- TVA is an industry leader in the safe, secure management of coal ash, also known as coal combustion residuals or CCR. Part of that leadership role includes using science to help guide our decisions, with oversight from our regulators and input from the communities we serve.

At Bull Run Fossil Plant in Anderson County, Tennessee, we are conducting extensive scientific studies under the direction and supervision of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The information and results of the studies will help us make decisions on how we continue to safely and securely manage coal ash, including whether we need to build a new dry storage landfill at the site.

That’s why we are withdrawing our applications for permits associated with a proposed new dry storage landfill at Bull Run Fossil Plant. We have notified both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation of our withdrawal.

“We are thoroughly studying the environment at Bull Run, and we haven’t made any decisions about the future of coal ash stored there,” said Scott Turnbow, TVA’s vice president for Civil Projects. “We aren’t certain if a new landfill will be necessary, so it makes sense to withdraw our applications until we determine the need.”

TVA began the TDEC permitting process at Bull Run in 2013, and purchased 200 acres of property next to the plant. At that time, the plant was expected to be generating electricity for the long-term, which would have created the need for a new landfill for Bull Run coal ash storage. This plan changed last year when the TVA board voted to close Bull Run in 2023.

“We may pursue a new landfill if the need for that landfill can be determined with certainty,” Turnbow said. “We will engage with TDEC and other regulators as necessary for any permits or permit modifications once those decisions about coal ash storage are made.”

Since it's unlikely that storage will be needed for new ash produced at Bull Run, the determination of future storage needs will center around closure options for the existing ash and gypsum – either closure in place or closure by removal. The results of the environmental studies currently underway will help determine the closure method and whether a new landfill may be needed. More information on those studies can be found here.