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TVA Plans Wastewater Treatment Project at Cumberland Fossil Plant

Jul 8, 2019

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.­­ — The Tennessee Valley Authority is planning a wastewater treatment project for its emissions control scrubber system at its Cumberland Fossil Plant in Cumberland City, Tennessee, which will be the first system of its kind at a TVA coal-fired plant.

Details on the project are part of a final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact posted at

The project includes construction of facilities in three stages to manage wastewater from the scrubber system at Cumberland. The proposed systems would help TVA comply with effluent limitation guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency, when those guidelines are final and applicable. The EPA is currently reconsidering the guidelines for scrubber wastewater.

TVA considered various alternatives for the system including chemical and biological wastewater treatment. TVA’s preferred alternative is Alternative B — to install a wastewater treatment system to remove solids for landfill storage and a physical-chemical system to remove constituents such as arsenic and mercury.

This alternative could be reconsidered based on any changes in the federal effluent limitation guidelines, once they are final. Because of the plant’s size, difference in processes, and flow rates, TVA has also applied to the EPA for site-specific limits on releases of selenium and nitrate/nitrites, and could reconsider the alternatives based on that decision. The physical-chemical treatment step would be necessary prior to biological treatment regardless.

The treatment facility would be constructed within the existing operating area of the plant.

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