EPA Takes Over

Submitted by WhitesCreek on May 11, 2009 - 2:09pm.

From Congressman Lincoln Davis...

Washington, DC - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it signed an enforceable agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to oversee the removal of coal ash at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant in Roane County, Tennessee.

Under the Administrative Order, which was entered into under the Superfund law, the EPA will oversee the cleanup and TVA will reimburse EPA for its oversight costs.

The order requires that TVA perform a comprehensive cleanup of coal ash from the Emory River and surrounding areas. TVA's work will be subject to review and approval by EPA, in consultation with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), to ensure full compliance with the Superfund law.

Once the removal of the ash is complete, TVA will be required to assess any remaining contamination to determine whether additional actions may be needed.

Congressman Lincoln Davis testified before the House Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment in March to discuss the ash-slide at the TVA’s Kingston facility. In his testimony, Congressman Davis made it known that if the cleanup did not stay on the right track, that he would call on the Administration to put the EPA formally in charge of the cleanup and name a czar to oversee the progress.

“As a Congressman I want to be sure that every precaution is taken with regards to the health of those living in the area, or for anyone that may be affected by this spill,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis. “It is my hope that with the announcement of today’s order, the EPA will provide the necessary oversight to see this done right.”

Congressman Davis represents the immediate area surrounding the December spill at the Kingston plant. Since the spill, Congressman Davis has met with local leaders, affected families, elected officials, TVA representatives and others to ensure that his constituents are made whole.

Before testifying on the ash-slide in March, Congressman Davis also sent a letter to TVA Chief Executive Tom Kilgore calling for greater transparency in the cleanup process.


This is good news!

Until now, EPA was taking a back seat to TVA and TDEC has been pretty useless. Being designated a Superfund site should bring pretty immediate action, but the down side is the negative press associated with that designation. Hopefully some of the people, health and real estate issues will now be handled by EPA.

Randy Martens for Kingston City Council
"Common Sense For Good Government"
Link...

I certainly hope you are

I certainly hope you are right. A place where I worked had a dumping ground that had been put on the Superfund list. They had dumped material from sand blasting lead based paints, quick lime and other bad things for years before I worked there. The only thing I ever saw the EPA make the company do in 24 years was cover it with dirt, plant grass and keep it mowed. It was that why when the place closed.

more info found from EPA regarding take-over

I have posted some additional information from the EPA regarding the order, the cleanup as well as questions and answers:

Link...

Good stuff...Thanks

I particularly like this:

TVA will provide $50,000 to an eligible community group to contract an independent technical advisor. The purpose of hiring such an advisor is to help the group interpret technical documents related to the non-time critical phases of the cleanup and then share the knowledge gained with the larger community.

Now we'll be able to figure out what exactly is going on. Perhaps this advisor could also serve as our "official" advocate.....which we badly need.

Randy Martens for Kingston City Council
"Common Sense For Good Government"
Link...

onetahiti's picture
I nominate Farmer Leaf :)

If he is willing.... :)

-- OneTahiti

farmer leaf's picture
Thanks, I appreciate

your kind gesture. However, you need someone smarter and more diplomatic than me for this position. While I bring lots of heart along with some science to the discussion of our environment, I don't suffer corporate or government lackey's very well.

Living and teaching Earth friendly sustainable agricultural practices.

WhitesCreek's picture
Here's the EPA order

The Order

When you read the order, you will see this is wonderful news. I was especially glad to see that this coal waste will have to be stored permanently as hazardous waste. Remember, this is a different EPA. On December 22, 2009, we were still operating with Bush's EPA.
As this order reads, we will see water in the coves again, the weir will be gone, and surface soil on contaminated properties will be cleaned.
Again, I want to thank the people who have basically put their personal lives on hold for 4 1/2 months to keep this disaster in the light. I honestly believe that your time and hard work helped in bringing this order about.
I do thank you all whole-heartedly. You know who you are. Our community owes you all a debt of gratitude. And, with your help, we will continue to be active. We know that now is not the time to sit on the sidelines. However, this order does give us a new beginning.

the order

Hey Rick,
Where did you read that the EPA will coal waste will have to be stored permanently as hazardous waste. I read in the order that any landfill this stuff is shipped to has to be in compliance with RCRA Subtitle D permitting requirements. This is from the EPA website about RCRA subtitle D
RCRA Subtitle D: Managing Municipal and Solid Waste

Overview of the Solid Waste Program

Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses non-hazardous solid wastes, including certain hazardous wastes which are exempted from the Subtitle C regulations such as: hazardous wastes from households and from conditionally exempt small quantity generators. Subtitle D also includes garbage (milk containers, coffee grounds), non-recycled household appliances, the residue from incinerated automobile tires, refuse such as metal scrap, wall board and empty containers, and sludge from industrial and municipal waste water and water treatment plants and from pollution control facilities.

Link...

It looks like the good news

It looks like the good news is
this will be lined storage
opposed to dumping it into an old mine
or unlined open storage
come back into our water ways
and homes

Here' Brant Williams' take on it.... I hope he's wrong

Comment on news of EPA taking over from TVA:

First, on the surface this appears a favorable development. However, without knowing fully the role the EPA will play, I am concerned that the people of Kingston and Roane County will notice little if any change in the management and effectiveness of the spill cleanup.

Second, I see this development in no way increasing the city of Kingston’s chance to be made whole. While each day brings more and more headlines from across the nation with a “Kingston” dateline about the deadly nature of coal ash, TVA appears to be signaling that there will little or no “economic recovery” funds forthcoming to the city or county. Our city has been permanently disabled and will forever be known as the site of the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. I doubt the EPA will address this issue.

In fact, for the TVA this may have been a masterful move to derail or mitigate the growing number of complaints and lawsuits piling up against it. This change may simply mean that the TVA managed to dodge any number of bullets headed its way had they continued to mismanage the spill.

Moreover, given the recent flooding on the Emory River and subsequent migration of the coal ash downstream into the Clinch, the enormity of the disaster is only now apparent. Faced with this fact, the TVA had no choice but acknowledge its inability to handle the spill by agreeing to allow EPA oversight and management.

To me this new development on the part of the TVA is akin to Pontius Pilot washing his hands to absolve himself of that which is to follow.

Brant W. Williams

Councilman - City of Kingston

Kingston, TN 37763

Office: 865-934-0743

Cell: 865-382-8640

RETURN mailto: Brant@BrantWWilliams.com

I'm not seeing a reclassification either.

This stuff is still classified as industrial waste but TVA has lost the option of arbitrarily dumping it wherever they want. It seems a bit early to declare anything but cautious victory....there's still a lot of wait and see here.

Randy Martens for Kingston City Council
"Common Sense For Good Government"
Link...

Epitaph

In the future when anthropolosist dig through the ruins of our time on history's line the following will be our epitaph:

POISONED BY THEIR PROGRESS
TERMINATED BY THEIR TECHNOLOGY

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