From: New York Times
Published January 2, 2009 08:24 AM

Metal Levels Found High in Tributary After Spill

Published: January 1, 2009

An environmental advocacy group’s tests of river water and ash near the site of a huge coal ash spill in East Tennessee showed levels of arsenic, lead, chromium and other metals at 2 to 300 times higher than drinking water standards, the group said Thursday.

The findings far exceed levels reported by the Tennessee Valley Authority, theEnvironmental Protection Agency or the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Those agencies have reported elevated levels of thallium, lead and arsenic found near the spill but have not released the full results of those tests.

The T.V.A. and the state have released only the results of tests on water sampled from the Tennessee River just after the spill at a spot six miles away and upstream of the ash flow, which showed that the water at that spot met drinking standards.


The ash spill, which appears to be the largest in the country’s history, occurred Dec. 22 when an earthen dike at the Kingston Fossil Plant, a T.V.A. coal utility, gave way, spreading a billion gallons of wet coal ash, known to contain heavy metals, across about 300 acres and into tributaries of the Tennessee River.

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