Jul 20 2016
07:46 am

Let me start this by saying, "It's over!" I fully believe and conclude that there are no more dangers from coal ash as a result of the TVA ash disaster in 2008. Today the area is safe and has been turned into a spectacularly beautiful park. If you haven't visited the area around Swan Pond you should. The walking paths are excellent!

All that said, there is much to discuss about TVA's handling of the event and aftermath and a lot of people believe they are suffering sicknesses due to their involvement in the clean up work. This is a moderately long story that everyone in Roane County should read. Several details don't square with what I know to be true but the overall picture as truly painted.


I agree

I agree—the remediation assures there is no aerial exposure to fugitive dust and we have a very beautiful park. However, I’m not ready to say it’s over. There will be monitoring of environmental media and wildlife for the foreseeable future.

Understanding exposure pathways is one key. At the last public meeting (closeout of the remediation project), it was acknowledged that aerial exposure to particulate matter in coal ash is a human health risk (respiratory and pulmonary effects.) The most likely exposure pathway for toxic elements is consumption of aquatic biota (fish, turtles, crayfish, and mussels.) There were fish consumption advisories prior to the coal ash spill, and the need for these advisories was confirmed in research at the spill site. There are multiple sources of legacy contaminants of concern in our waterways: the coal ash spill, historical releases from Oak Ridge and the old paper mill upstream on the Emory River, as well as unknown historical sources.)

The workers’ experience early on was extraordinary. There is no debate that aerial exposure to particulate matter in coal ash is a human health risk, but the science of linking the exposure to specific health conditions is not well established. For those of us who live here, the fact that there are multiple sources of toxic elements in aquatic biota that people eat makes it difficult to pinpoint the coal ash spill as the loan cause of observed health conditions.

There are many unanswered questions about the human health effects of exposure to coal ash, and there is much to be learned about site-specific contamination. I for one look forward to studying future monitoring and research results. I like to think there will come a time when it will be safe to eat the fish and lift the ban on commercial fishing. This is going to take a while.

WC is right. If you have access to Facebook, watch the 2015 video showing the beautiful park. Count your blessings! (link...)

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To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.