Update from Harriman, TN TVA coal ash pond failure

Dear folks,

Members of United Mountain Defense traveled today down to Harriman, TN to learn more first hand about the impacts of the coal ash pond failure. We traveled on Swan Pond Rd visiting local residents and passing out information about the chemicals that may be present in the drinking water. Beginning at 3pm Dec 23, 2008 TVA officials began to visit all of the houses just prior to our visit advising residents to boil their drinking water before consuming it for the next 5 days. Unfortunately TVA did not inform anyone about the reasons for needing to boil the water and any chemicals that may be present in their water. The city of Harriman was working 24 hours a day to install a new water pipe in order to provide these residents with cleaner water. Their current water source was a large spring which may have been contaminated by the spill.

We also met a man who had been vomitting for the past 12 hours after drinking a couple of pots of coffee made from the tainted water. We advised him to go to the hospital.
The corporate media has been reporting that affected citizens were being housed in a local motel, but we met many citizens who had spent the last two nights without electricity or gas heat in 27 F weather. A source shared information that TVA knew that the coal ash dam had been leaking for months now. We visited approximately 40 households many of which had not received any information other than what they could figure out from the minute long television segments or an isolated phone call from the water or gas utility. TVA police were limiting access to Swan Pond Rd as utility crews were actively working on the roadway.

United Mountain Defense is actively creating a plan of action to deal with this issue. We plan to go back down to Harriman tomorrow. The work is seeming to fall into a few catagories at this point.

We want to get more video, get more water samples from wells, springs, faucets, and sludge puddles. We are going to get more familiar with the local area and resources. We want to meet more locals, pass out info, and set up protests. Any suggestions that you have would be greatly appreciated. If you are able to test water samples for heavy metals or other specilized water testing please let us know. We also have an updated list of demands below for TVA since they have been so naughty. (Check out the TVA Santa protest videos)

Feel free to send checks for copies, paper, gas and general support funds to:

United Mountain Defense
P.O. Box 20363
Knoxville, TN 37920

Or go to www.UnitedMountainDefense.org to donate using Paypal.

Thank you so much,

Matt Landon
Full time volunteer staff person, United Mountain Defense.


Santa is sorry to learn of your loss and hopes to help out. Santa learned about TVA’s naughty ways from United Mountain Defense. Santa stands in solidarity with the residents of Appalachia and United Mountain Defense.

Santa also came up with a list of demands on the sleigh ride to Harriman.

  1. TVA provides clean drinking water to all residents with water affected by the coal ash spill, indefinitely.
  2. TVA and the State of Tennessee holds multiple public hearings and investigates the bursting coal ash dam.
  3. TVA and the State of Tennessee identifies the locations of all the coal ash, what toxins exist in the coal ash, and how it will be cleaned up and safely disposed of in landfills with liners.
  4. TVA provides public disclosure of all existing coal ash ponds and makes sure each pond receives a current inspection by the state of Tennessee. TVA upgrades all coal ash ponds to include safety liners.
  5. TVA installs a warning system and provides education for all residents likely to be impacted by any problems with other ash ponds.
  6. TVA completely cleans up and restores the affected properties and water ways.
  7. TVA pays restitution for human suffering involved in the ash pond failure.
  8. TVA establishes a citizen advisory board with voting power for all of its operations.
  9. TVA stops burning any coal from surface mines and Mountain Top Removal coal mines.
  10. TVA cuts their emissions of mercury, heavy metals, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid to zero pounds per year.
  11. TVA agrees to not mine for coal in Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area.

Feel free to contact TVA and forward Santa’s list of demands. Make sure to be polite.

Tennessee Valley Authority
400 W. Summit Hill Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37902-1499
865-632-2101
800-882-5263
[email protected]

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