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Environmental Activities at Cumberland Fossil Plant

Apr 23, 2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Several environmental activities are under way at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Cumberland Fossil Plant, located near Cumberland City, Tennessee. One activity involves TVA’s proposed changes to its handling and storage of coal ash and other coal combustion residuals (CCR) at the plant. The second, and related, activity is a draft plan for an environmental investigation—with oversight from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation—to identify any unacceptable impacts from TVA’s CCR activities at the plant.

The details on the proposed changes to the ash storage are part of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) available on the TVA website at The project will be one of the final steps in eliminating wet storage of CCR at Cumberland.

The preferred option in the EIS calls for closing two current ash impoundments and building and operating a new bottom ash dewatering facility as well as a lined landfill to store dry ash and other CCR in the future. The new landfill will meet all state and federal CCR regulations. TVA has elected to delay the ash impoundment closures to allow the TDEC Environmental Investigation Plan (EIP) process to guide those closure activities as much as possible.

TVA has committed to converting from wet to dry storage of CCR at all its remaining coal-fired plants, including Cumberland, while following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s CCR Rule and state requirements.    

A final decision on the preferred option at Cumberland will be announced after a 30-day waiting period. TVA will issue a decision about the ash impoundment closures an any additional documentation at a future date.

At the same time—TVA is asking for public comment on a proposed Environmental Investigation Plan for its Cumberland Fossil Plant.

TVA is developing the plan and seeking public comment along with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation regarding coal ash and other CCR stored at TVA’s coal plants in Tennessee.

The Cumberland Fossil Plant EIP provides details on how TVA plans to investigate and assess any unacceptable impacts to soil, surface water and groundwater from CCR stored at Cumberland.

The EIP can be viewed online via the website link provided below. The public comment period runs from April 10 to May 25, 2018.

Comments on the plan can be submitted:

  • In writing at TN Commissioner’s Order Comment, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market St. BR 4A, Chattanooga, TN 37402
  • In person at a public meeting to be held on May 3, 2018, from 5 to 7 p.m. CDT at the Cumberland City Fire Hall, 402 Thomas Avenue in Cumberland City, Tennessee
  • Via email at [email protected]; and online at TDEC Order website. Comments must be received by the end of the comment period, May 25, 2018.

Please note that any comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and will be available for public inspection.

For additional information visit TDEC Order.

For more information about TVA and its 84-year mission of service to the Tennessee Valley, click here.


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