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A collapsed retaining wall spews millions of gallons of fly ash across the Tennessee valley


A disaster that occurred early Monday morning has ruined the holidays for some residents of Knoxville, Tennessee. A retaining wall at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston coal-fired power plant collapsed, spewing 2.6 million cubic yards of fly ash across Tennessee.

According to the TVA, 400 acres of land are submerged 6-feet deep in the toxic substance. The sludge that burst out of the holding pond for power plant waste ripped an entire home from its foundations and flooded 11 other homes in the area. In addition, a train was also heavily damaged.

"Protecting the public, our employees, and the environment is TVA's primary concern as we supply electric power for the people of Tennessee Valley region," said TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore. "We deeply regret that a retention wall for ash containment at our Kingston Fossil Plant failed, resulting in an ash slide and damage to nearby homes."

Fortunately, no injuries related to the disaster have been reported so far. However, the situation is expected to worsen. Fly ash is a highly toxic substance that contains mercury, lead, and arsenic. A report from last year also states that fly ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste.  

The toxic substance has begun seeping into the Emory River, which means the waste may ultimately end up flowing into the Tennessee River, contaminating ground and surface water. The TVA says that it will continue to sample water downstream for contamination. As a precaution, the TVA has attempted to manage the river flows in order to reduce risk of contamination.

The Kingston power plant generates 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. According to the TVA, this powers 670,000 homes. Despite the disaster, the plant is still online and operating.  

Repairs for the disaster will begin immediately, with hundreds of bulldozers, dump trucks and workers already in the area to clear out the debris.

Residents displaced by the disaster have been provided with hotel rooms, food and transportation.  Gas, electricity and water have been restored to homes in the area that did not incur any serious damage.

Aerial footage of the disaster has also been posted on YouTube.



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RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 1:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
"In recent news: President-elect obama has gone to Tennessee to help oversee the clean-up of the coal dust spill. He asked if he could help direct the flow of the trucks hauling the material. When asked why he responded 'Because i love telling people to BACK THAT ASH UP! '"


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 4:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
"President-Elect obama was also at the scene acting as an inspector. After making observations he reported that the area has ' some really fine ASH ' and that, if possible, he would love ' to get a piece of that ASH ' but Mrs. Obama refused stating ' if he knows what was good for him he won't be bringing home any ASH he's been messing around with on the weekend ".


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 4:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
"Cities down river outraged state: ' Get your ASH outta here '"


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 4:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
"A TVA representative, rather uncouthly, said 'This DUMB ASH has made a real big mess, but we'll do everything we can to clean up it up.'"


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 4:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
"Greenpeace of Alabama was quick to respond to the disaster protesting and demanding that the TVA ' GET YOUR BLACK ASH OUT '"


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 5:02:21 PM , Rating: 2
"Locals in the area say it's never been pleasant living next to the plant. One local went on record to say 'It can really suck when the wind blows our way. The whole town smells like ASH. '"


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 5:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
"People across America are surprised by the accident, and when hearing about the size of the spill they all universally agree that Tenessee has "some really bigASH pools".


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 5:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
"The best meathod to clean up the spill is still being talked about. Some have suggested using a bunch of ASH-wipes , while others have suggested digging some really big ASH-holes. A decision is still pending."


RE: expect more of this
By ThePooBurner on 12/26/2008 5:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
"Entrepreneurs have been quick to cash in on the disaster selling souvenir ASH-hats and ASH-wads ."


RE: expect more of this
By andrinoaa on 12/27/2008 8:17:30 AM , Rating: 2
How about asking the people affected if they now approve of coal power or nuclar power in their new backyards. I can guess the response, more converts to "clean power". I guess the media will hype it up even more, loverly!


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