Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 28, 2008 - 11:25am.
Wall of Ash

Questions will need to be answered about the safety of all ash ponds everywhere. TVA is constructing one on the Kingston side of their facility. As this shows, the initial wall of material was 20 feet high or better as far as a half a mile or more away.

TVA has now installed inclinometers in their dikes which go as deep as 70 feet below grade and will instantly report if even a tiny movement of material occurs.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 28, 2008 - 10:08am.
Temp Weir locations

One Weir replaces an island that isn't there any more. The second will cross the entire Emory with a 50 foot gap at the surface for river traffic. of course this map is the "before" situation of the settling ponds.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 28, 2008 - 9:44am.

TVA officials told us that they are coming back to map the lake bottom again so that a determination can be made of what needs to be done to restore it to its pre-spill condition.

Some fish of other species besides shad are being found, such as the bottom feeding drum. The numbers just aren't there to assign this to toxicity. It looks to be "death by mud" for the most point and should not spread.

I don't expect us to see fish killed beyond the actual event area in the lake, but we need to stay alert and report it if we see it.

Also, I've attached TVA's short term action list. It's in PDF format but it lets us know what they are planning to do.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 28, 2008 - 9:29am.

TVA is posting some info at their web site. It contains some of the info we've seen here but has a little more technical stuff.


The aerial video they have posted is pretty honest. I get the sense that the folks at ground zero want everybody to know everything that is being done, and the realization is sinking in at the highest levels that they have to be open with us. Better late than never. People always assign the worst motives to actions when they are kept out of the loop. I think TVA has turned a corner in this respect.

Frankly I was amazed at the amount of activity last night.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 27, 2008 - 11:01pm.

The signs closing the Emory River just aren't there. Didn't stop them from issuing warning tickets.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 27, 2008 - 10:56pm.

Tonight at 7 pm A few folks got to meet with and fire questions at Ron Hall, the Plant Manager for the TVA Kingston Steam Plant. TVA Senior Vice President Bob Deacy also took our questions. They answered everything we threw at them. The most refreshing answer I heard at times was "We don't know yet," with regard to exact details on how things will be handled beyond the initial stages.

I came away thinking that the people at TVA public relations should get out of the way and let everyone hear from the actual people at ground zero. It's far more honest reassuring than the corporate blather we've been getting filtered through the Knoxville media.

Some things I learned:


Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 27, 2008 - 12:32pm.

From Chris Irwin

We tried to drive back to the spill site but TVA became irate when we pulled off the road and tried to take some pictures - Matt and I were detained for almost an hour at a check point yesterday - TVA personnel appear to be under great strain, which is understandable but IMO they over-reacted. All we were doing was taking photos. This is a similar situation to what happened in Martin County - they block the roads for "public safety." Even the media is having trouble getting access now.


Submitted by KnightLord on December 27, 2008 - 11:25am.

Late yesterday Jim Pinkerton, Kingston City Manager, Paul Davis, State Director of Water Pollution Control, and John Myers with TVA worked out a regimen of testing Kingston's water supply. Kingston has been sampling for pH and alkalinity every two hours using the laboratory at the Kingston water plant (which would indicate a change in raw water), but one of the problems with testing has been the turn-around time required for data on raw water samples.

In the past screenings for heavy metals and toxicity have had a five day turn-around time with the laboratory Kingston had been using in Lebanon.
Mr. Myers stated that TVA has secured the services of a laboratory in Maryville which is providing data back in 24 hours. The City of Kingston, the State, and TVA have agreed to jointly participate in the 24 hour sampling program with results emailed to each agency in 24 hours.

The sampling program began early this morning (12/27/08).

Also of importance, Mr. Myers indicated that TVA is operating Fort Loudon and Watts Bar dams in such a way as to keep a positive flow in the Tennessee River at the city's raw water intake. This flow will prevent any contaminated water from coming back upstream from the Clinch River. In the event of a major storm event which could occur in the Emory, Clinch or Tennessee river basins, flows will be adjusted accordingly.

Brant W. Williams

Submitted by KnightLord on December 27, 2008 - 9:55am.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 27, 2008 - 9:54am.

TVA may be telling the truth and simply be incompetent...or they may be intentionally misleading us in the interests of keeping their liability down, and will dribble out the real facts as they are forced to answer our questions face to face.

The Tennessee Valley Authority now says three times more coal ash and water escaped Monday from the failed retention pond at the Kingston steam plant than first estimated, and initial testing at the site indicates nearby waters are polluted above regulatory limits.

From the updated story at KNS

We should strongly urge our local enforcement folks to allow all media and environmental groups access to the site on an ongoing basis. The only way we will be able to trust what TVA says is to catch them telling the truth with outside independent researchers, such as those brought in by United Mountain Defense and other activist groups. Here's the UMD blog that records their activities every day.

Submitted by onetahiti on December 27, 2008 - 9:52am.

Please, has anyone seen post-spill news of test results for Rockwood water? Kingston may be "upstream" (Link...) but downstream seems more of a concern. The most recent news that I've seen is from March: Link...

Submitted by onetahiti on December 27, 2008 - 2:26am.

Sometimes it seems that news doesn't travel as fast as it could even in these days of the Web. First the ash spill here, now this report from my hanai sister in Honolulu:

The entire island of Oahu has reportedly been without electrical power since 11PM EST (6PM HST). Although Obama is there and the circumstances of the outage are somewhat mysterious, the story doesn't yet show on or in Google News' aggregation.


( categories: )

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 26, 2008 - 9:07pm.

Emergency Meeting of the Kingston City Council

Councilman Kevin McClure and myself, Councilman Brant Williams extend an invitation to all who are concerned about the impact of the TVA fly ash spill to attend our emergency City Council meeting on Sunday 12/28 at

At this meeting the City of Kingston will begin the process of formulating its official reaction and response to the massive TVA fly ash spill. All concerned citizens should attend. Everyone who wishes to speak or comment will have that opportunity.


Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 26, 2008 - 3:03pm.

...Avoid conditions which result in dusting and in uncontrolled runoff of rainwater from storage areas...

From the MSDS (Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet) on Bituminous coal ash.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 26, 2008 - 1:50pm.

Take your mind off Coal sludge.

If you never got to see Roy Orbison live you missed one of the great performers ever. I was on the Southern tour with another band called the Candymen who had backed Orbison for a bit. They were so much better musicians than I was that I decided since they were having trouble making it, I had better stay in school. This video is from 1986, 16 years later. Roy still "Got it".

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 26, 2008 - 1:24pm.

Submitted by bswinford1 on December 26, 2008 - 1:43am.

Dear Concerned Citzens of Roane County,

My name is Matt Landon. I am the full time volunteer staff person for United Mountain Defense, a Knoxville based non profit, and we have been working on the ground around the spill site for the past 4 days. We have been traveling back and forth from our Volunteer House in Knoxville to Harriman each day. On Christmas Day we had 5 volunteers working at ground zero.


Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 25, 2008 - 10:31am.

Merry Christmas to All

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 24, 2008 - 7:34am.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 24, 2008 - 7:14am.

Inspection reports indicate there were two prior breaches in six years at a TVA steam plant’s ash retention pond that failed early Monday morning


Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 23, 2008 - 7:21pm.

The hazardous material content of fly ash varies greatly due to the content of the coal and other considerations. Let's push for a good testing of the content of the effluent that just got washed into Watts Bar Lake.


Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 23, 2008 - 7:09pm.

Information overload but there's a lot here:


Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 23, 2008 - 7:06pm.

Retention Pond Breach
On December 22, a dike of a retention pond was breached at a Coal Fired Power Plant in Harriman, TN. The Civil Air Patrol was dispatched to provide aerial photographs. Three homes were destroyed and 12 sustained minor damage. There were 45 homes without gas with 25 homes that were to remain without gas overnight. The original shelter count went down from 17 to 6 occupants. The Emory River was shut down in places due to debris and sludge. No injuries or fatalities were reported and there were no requests for Federal Assistance. An earlier suspected injury was ruled unrelated to the flood.

Submitted by Crappieman on December 23, 2008 - 4:44pm.

TVA has ruined beautiful Watts Bar Lake. As my user name suggests I love fishing for crappie on Watts Bar Lake, which includes portions of the Emory and Clinch Rivers. I'm saddened to report that today the lake has been transformed into a reservior of suet and debris. Dead fish are washing ashore by the thousands. From my deck I can see waterfowl such as ducks and heron covered in ash suet. The lake is completely and eerily grey. A TVA spokesman stated earlier today that the dying fish are possibly due to colder temperatures. What a joke! Only a government agency could make such an assenine statement.


( categories: )

Submitted by onetahiti on December 23, 2008 - 10:10am.

I just received a phone call from another local resident wanting to know what folks can do to help the displaced families of Swan Pond. I didn't know what to tell her :( but thought maybe someone else here would know. Please, does anyone have information on this?

( categories: )

Submitted by onetahiti on December 22, 2008 - 3:33pm.

These books make wonderful local gifts and benefit a worthy cause. Read more: Link...

( categories: )

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 22, 2008 - 8:08am.

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers, Last week we left off with David Sliger's (Class of 1954) tale from Pine Hill,Tn. where he spent his early childhood. Again, some of these characters just MIGHT strike a resemblance to our Rockwood friends and classmates from years ago. David's tale continues....


Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 22, 2008 - 7:29am.

The road into Swan Pond is out from the Midtown side. Reports are that at least one house was seriously damaged and many more have some damage. More are without power.

If there is something we can all do to help these folks who have been run out of their homes by the collapse of the dike, I hope someone will post it here.

From Roane County News
"Clean Coal" stikes back?

Was that a bullet proof vest that Howie Rose was wearing on TV? We've spent a lot of money getting ready for terrorists, when the greater threat is lax regulation on corporations and failure to inspect waste treatment and containment facilities.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 21, 2008 - 6:33pm.

The rapids on this creek are many and beautiful. The biggest one has a couple of names but the one I like best is "Time Warp" because if you mess up and hit the rock on the right, you get kicked into the undercut rock on the left. Since the rock on the right is in Cumberland County and the one on the left is in Roane County, you travel back in time from the Central time zone to Eastern time. It only takes a split second to hit rocks an hour apart...Or is it an hour ago?

I ran shuttle for the boys. It was 38 degrees when this was taken.

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 21, 2008 - 9:30am.


Latest Entry

Other Voices