Friday, January 29, 2010

TVA Cleaning Up:

In May 2009 the EPA returned to Kingston with a government order covering the requirements for the TVA coal ash spill clean up. The site is described as "the largest disaster of its kind in the history of the U.S." It is also classified as a "Super Fund Site".

As I mentioned in my last post, the first phase of clean up is to remove over 3 million cubic yards of coal ash from the Emory River. Approximately 500 individuals are on site 12 hours a day to accomplish the daunting task. Several large dredgers are used in the Emory River to pump the coal ash out of the river.

Dredgers pump coal ash from the Emory River 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.

The coal ash removed from the river is spread to dry down to a 30% moisture content. Retaining walls have been constructed to prevent the possibility of the drying ash being carried back into the river during the winter storms.

Retaining walls and dyke to prevent dredged ash from escaping into Emory River.

The EPA has determined to prevent migration of the coal ash during clean up it must be constantly maintained with a moisture content. Water trucks move through the site every few minutes to ensure this process.

Water trucks prevent migration of drying coal ash.

The coal ash from the Emory River is being shipped by rail car to the Arrowhead Landfill in Uniontown, Al. Eighty-eight rail cars per day leave the Kingston location and travel the 350 miles to Uniontown.

Rail cars to be loaded with coal ash from the drying area.

To prevent the coal ash escaping from the rail cars on the 350 mile trip to Uniontown a "burrito" wrapper has been designed to encase the coal ash within the rail cars.

Rail car fitted with plastic "burrito" wrapper.

Currently coal ash remains an "unclassified" material by the EPA. The procedures I observed at the spill/cleanup site to prevent potential migration of ash showed great concern for potential problems. When exiting the work site boots are scrubbed and all vehicles are required to pass through a three phase wash/cleaning process. All wash water from the cleaning is recycled and filtered before release.

Three phase vehicle cleaning required before exiting the spill site.

Will the Emory River and the Swan Pond community return to what it was before December 22, 2008? Time changes all things. It is a big job and there is a big story yet to unfold.

Swan Pond Slough Phase One clean up.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

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