Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TVA report details toxic chemicals - arrests activists

With the EPA reporting that water samples are safe......it reminds me of the EPA reports right after 9/11 that the air was safe. We know how that turned out.

The EPA and the rest of the government have no problem telling lies to the American people.

After all, government officials who told hundreds of lies to bring us to invade Iraq resulting in over a million deaths wouldn't hesitate to tell a few 'white lies' to prevent people from panicking or calling their lawyers.

Some activists are trying to get their own samples for testing. (see below)

It's a sad state of affairs when information about the public's health is in doubt.

This is the eastern wall of the Kingston Fossil Plant ...

Photo by J. Miles Cary

This is the eastern wall of the Kingston Fossil Plant dike that breached and spilled sludge onto Swan Pond Road and a railroad track that serviced the steam plant.

2 activists arrested for taking photos of TVA toxic coal ash spill

by Karen Harper

Two men who are part of the non-profit United Mountain Defense located in Knoxville were arrested and detained yesterday as they tried to take photographs of the coal ash sludge spill that occurred on December 22 in Harriman, Tennessee. It is unclear why TVA police detained the two men. They were on public land during the incident.

David Cooper and Matt Landon who were detained by the TVA police planned to take water samples but were just taking photographs of the spill at the time of their arrest. TVA has not responded to requests for more information on the incident.

David Cooper commented, "...the dust and airborne contaminants from the coal ash are dangerous. Workers on the clean up site should be wearing respiratory protection. This could cause breathing problems for the workers like we saw at the World Trade Center." He also went on to say he was sorry that he and his fellow activist had caused problems for TVA, and that their "concern is for the safety of nearby residents and their families."

Other environmentalists are on the scene and have had more success getting water samples.

According to the Tennessean, levels of thallium and lead, both toxic to humans have been found to be elevated in test samples taken from river water near the ash spill. TVA official Terry Johnson remarked that though he didn't know the amount, levels are lower than those considered a health risk.

Residents report that there are numerous dead fish on the banks of the river. TVA spokespeople have stated that the fish were probably killed when they were blasted out of the water when the spill occurred.

Asheville's Citizen-Times reports that environmentalists are asking authorities to give stronger warnings to residents regarding the much left after the spill. While TVA and local authorities are assuring residents they are not at risk unless they ingest the sludge, but Barbara Martocci, a spokeswoman for the TVA is cautioning people to avoid the area. "If they do touch it, they should wash their hands."

In the meantime, environmentalists, including those who were detained by TVA police for taking photographs are warning area residents to err on the side of caution and continue to urge TVA workers and cleanup crews to wear protective gear. more - Examiner

TVA report details toxic chemicals at Kingston dredge cells

By Josh Flory (Contact)
Originally published 10:50 a.m., December 30, 2008

Thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the dredge cells at TVA's Kingston Fossil Plant last year, according to a report on the agency's Web site.

In a toxic release inventory, TVA says releases into the Kingston dredge cells include the following:

- More than 1.4 million pounds of barium compounds;

- More than 49,000 pounds of lead compounds;

- More than 142,000 pounds of manganese compounds; and

- More than 44,000 pounds of arsenic compounds.

According to a TVA spokeswoman, the land release data comprise materials released into the fossil plant's dredge cells. Last week, a failure of the facility's dredge cell walls caused a massive spill of fly ash, which fouled the Emory River and damaged dozens of properties.

The report also outlines a smaller amount of materials that was discharged into the Emory River.

A news release issued by federal, state and local officials Monday said water from private wells or springs may be contaminated if impacted by the release and that "these sources of water should not be used for drinking, cooking or bathing until they have been evaluated."


A high level of arsenic has been found in a waterway next to TVA's Kingston power plant where a dike break last week released more than 1 billion gallons of coal ash sludge.

The arsenic found in one of several river water samples registered above the amount permitted in drinking water, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report.

Two metals, lead and thallium, have been found in the water next to the accident, but both were in concentrations that pose no health hazard, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

No problems have been found in drinking water, which is being tested regularly at the Kingston and Rockwood water treatment plants, said EPA spokeswoman Laura Niles. Ordinary treatment at drinking water plants would likely remove the pollutants if they reach the plant's water intakes, officials said.

"Unless people regularly drink untreated river water, the arsenic should not cause any adverse health effects," said a statement Monday from a group of agencies responding to the disaster.

Federal and state agencies plan to continue sampling water in the Emory River, where the arsenic was found. They also are sampling the Clinch River, which joins the Emory. The Tennessee River that they flow into is also being monitored.

Aquatic life could be at risk, said Wendy Smith, Nashville director of Southeastern Rivers and Streams Program of the World Wildlife Fund. "Something can swim away, and they may or may not be affected by it," she said of fish.

"Some of the ones that stay in the same place I would be more concerned about, mussels and snails, for instance."

Toxic substances that stay in the sediment can be taken up in the food chain, too, she said.

Bits of the ash that's lying across almost 300 acres, including a neighborhood, fields and wetlands, have also been gathered for analysis, but results were not available Monday, federal and state officials said

Coal contains arsenic, lead and many other substances naturally that can become concentrated in the ash when it is burned to create electricity.

Officials say they are not seeing the potentially toxic substances farther downstream and it may be because the heavier elements could be falling out of the water column into the streambed.

Four water wells that residents use in the area are being testing for contaminants, also, Niles said. These are believed to be the only residential wells in the immediate area.

"I think they were beyond the actual slide point of the material," she said. "There shouldn't be direct impact, but that's why they are sampling."

The ash slide and flood happened in early morning Dec. 22, when a 40-acre earthen, above-ground coal ash holding pond gave way, knocking one house off its foundation, damaging 11 others, toppling trees and power lines and filling a bay of the Emory River.

Cleanup continues

TVA has brought heavy equipment and workers to the site where cleanup is going on around the clock, officials have said.

Residents are advised to wash off the ash if it gets on them or their clothes, to avoid tracking it into their homes on their shoes and to avoid breathing any that dries and becomes airborne. Air monitoring has begun.

Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment, but elevated levels can cause ailments ranging from nausea to partial paralysis, and long-term exposure has been linked to several types of cancer, according to the EPA.

Thallium and lead can cause neurological damage.

TVA Inspector General Richard Moore said Monday that his office will investigate the spill and TVA's response to it. The inspector general's office is independent from TVA but will coordinate its work with EPA and Tennessee environmental regulators.

Knoxville-based TVA supplies electricity to all of Tennessee and parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

The Tennessean

TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore answers questions before 300 ...

Photo by Saul Young

TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore answers questions before 300 people who showed up for a special meeting of the Kingston City Council on Sunday held at the Roane County High School gymnasium to discuss the recent failure of a TVA fly ash retention pond.

A Nice Raise for CEO of TVA

NASHVILLE - The nation's biggest public utility is raising its chief executive's compensation by nearly a half million dollars, a month after its largest electric rate increase in three decades took effect.

Tennessee Valley Authority President and CEO Tom Kilgore told board members meeting Thursday in Nashville that the rate could go down in January because fuel costs have decreased. He didn't say how much the rate may decrease.

At the meeting, board members approved raising Kilgore's bonus-driven compensation package from a potential $2.7 million to $3.27 million, effective the next fiscal year.

On Oct. 1, the TVA put a 20 percent electricity rate increase into effect, raising average residential bills by $15.80 to $19.80 a month. It's the TVA's biggest rate boost since 1974 and its second this year, following a 7 percent increase in April - all because of ballooning costs for fuel and purchased power. more

Tennessee Valley Authority pulled in a record $10.4 billion in revenues in the recently ended 2008 fiscal year thanks to rate and fuel costs increases.

Net income in 2008 increased to $817 million from $423 million a year ago. A one-time accounting adjustment increased net income by $350 million. Excluding the increase, TVA would have posted net income of $467 million, an increase of 10 percent. more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The recession is not hurting the paychecks of some of the Tennessee Valley Authority's top executives, who are cashing six-figure bonus checks.

According to federal documents, the CEO of TVA, Tom Kilgore, makes $655,000 a year. In addition to his salary, he received an incentive bonus of more than $1 million for 2008, bringing his total income to $2.4 million.

TVA's chief financial officer, Kimberly Green, earned a salary of $503,000 in 2008 and received a bonus of $493,000, which made for an income of $1.3 million.

William McCollum, the chief operating officer, earned $726,000, with a $751,000 bonus, for a total of $1.8 million. 12-29-08 more msnbc


A lot of revenue money coming in to TVA and a lot going out to executives.

It seems like bonuses and salaries should be based on oversight and accountability.

At least they should have hired someone to put their finger in the dike.


  1. "Folks, we're telling you.. cough, cough.. that the air around the ..choke, gasp, cough..spill site is fit..choke, gasp, cough, cough...to breathe."

    "After all, we're...cough, cough..with the federal government...choke, gasp..would we lie to you?"

  2. You make a great point about the NYC and 9/11 and the govt telling the heroes and residents it was safe. Come to find out, the TVA (govt) lied about the size of the damage. What a surprise, huh? Every time they (govt) open their mouths about anything they give you one more reason not to believe a word they say. Yeah, a sludge-slide of heavy metal poisons won't affect your environment at all. This thing that happened down there is HUGE and the MSM is already ignoring it.