Monday December 22, a tragedy 40 times bigger than the
Valdez Oil spill occurred outside of Kingston, TN.
Residences living near the Tennessee Valley Authority
(TVA) Kingston coal plant were flooded with
approximately 500 million gallons of nasty black coal
waste. It covered 400 acres of land and flooded into
tributaries of the Tennessee River which is the water
supply for Chattanooga TN and millions of people
living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The coal ash, slurry or sludge is a byproduct left
over after TVA burns their coal and it contains
mercury and dangerous heavy metals like lead and
arsenic, among many other potentially toxic and
radioactive contaminates. Materials found naturally in
coal are concentrated in the ash and more toxic than
TVA says that the area is not toxic and that
preliminary water test show that the drinking water at
the nearby water treatment facility meets standards.
The problem is that many of the families in the
impacted area do not have access to this safe drinking
water because their water is being pumped from a
spring located in the flooded area or they depend on
TVA is advising families to boil water however they
are not informing anyone about the reasons for needing
to boil the water or sharing any chemicals that may be
present in their water. Member of a the nonprofit
United Mountain Defense have been going door to door
delivering bottled water and passing out information
about the chemicals that may be present in impacted
drinking water and we met one man who had been
vomiting for 12 hours after drinking coffee made from
his well water.
Many people in the area are frustrated they had not
received detailed information from TVA and have gone
days without electricity, gas heat, or clean water.
Some people were given motel rooms by TVA while others
living on the same street have been without heat for
several days in 27° weather.
Many residences say that they are not surprised by the
flood because TVA has been fixing leaks in the
retention wall for years and one person said this wall
had been leaking for months before it broke.
For more information please visit
www.unitedmountaindefense.org or call 865-689-2778.