Monday, January 12, 2009

TVA Coal Ash Holes

I am new to the blogging thing so it might be a little rocky to begin with.

I am John L. Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper
I work for a non-profit in Tuscaloosa Alabama, Friends of Hurricane Creek

We are members of the WATERKEEPER Alliance and represented globally with close to 200 member groups.

I was recently called to Harriman Tennessee by Chris Erwin, United Mountain Defense, to help document the nations largest environmental disaster, barring loss of human life, in history.

I will try here to keep folks informed as to what is going on in the coal industry around here as well as covering national disasters when possible.

Here is a group of photo links from my work up to now on the Kingston TVA coal ash disaster and the more recent TVA, Widows Creek, blow-out as well.

1 comment:

  1. Here are the latest aerial photos from Widows Creek.

    Although it is still not as large as Kingston (thank God or somebody) it is still larger than TVA is admitting. These new photos show many areas of concern...
    1. Why was a 4 foot pipe left in this pit with no permanent cover installed?
    2. Are there others?
    3. When was this pipe abandoned?
    a. Under what circumstances is it alright to leave such a dangerous scenario deemed acceptable by TVA?
    4. Is there any "bottom testing" going on to ascertain how much material is on the bottom of Widows Creek?
    5. Why is TVA doing nothing to remove the ash from the creek, river, and surrounding woods?
    6. Isn't there a opacity limit for the TVA smoke stack? look at the 1st photo of us flying through the smoke plume. Temp was higher, smelled like an old coal stove, could NOT see through it.

    In my opinion. TVA is once again lying through their teeth about the nature, amount, containment, and history of this "Leaky Pipe" (TVA's first account) After my photos broke they admitted the leaky pipe story was not quite true and now are saying the pipe was not covered. Duh! Look at the hole in the new pics. It is a corrugated pipe, looks to be 36 to 48 inches in diameter. This is consistent for a "stand pipe" assembly to allow water to overflow after settling into the final sediment basin. I was told by a local whistle blower (refused to give a name) that he worked there when the pipe was abandoned. "It became plugged with ash and set up hard. TVA decided it was cheaper to discontinue it's use and install another. The old one never got capped"

    There is a new one installed in the top right corner with a series of weir like canals leading to it. (on the left side of the gypsum plant. It leads into the over-topped final sediment basin then discharges into Widow Creek.
    There is a set of 4 high volume pumps set up in the basin now that is pumping the basin into the one across the creek. This is being done via the bridge crossing the creek. Water could be seen from the plane dripping heavily from the bridge into Widow Creek. I will point this out to ADEM and ask that they monitor this unpermitted discharge.

    We need to exploit this as our smoking gun... Ash ponds have to be regulated by...
    1. Safety regulatory agencies
    2. Environmental agencies
    3. Engineering firms, not associated with the companies.

    This was not altogether TVA's fault. Companies only do what they are allowed to get away with. We need to strike NOW while the iron is hot. Use these photos to demand a complete and thorough investigation into the negligence that allowed this to happen from EPA, ADEM, and the Senate committee. All of this happened on Tom Kilgore's watch. He just received a hugh incentive bonus although TVA is supposedly a government entity. The new posted signs at the Clinch public landing are posted by "U.S. TVA Police"!

    How does a government run utility company pay bonuses any way? How many other government agencies have a CEO?

    This morphing of the TVA company needs to be exposed and BROKEN! Since when does a private company have the authority to deny citizens the use of a waterway of the U.S. for the purpose of taking independent samples?

    We have seen this now three times in recent weeks. Kingston, Ocoee River, and now Widows Creek has been sequestered by TVA rent-a-cops.
    This was, once again, preventable, predictable, and needlessly negligent on the part of TVA, EPA, and ADEM (Alabama Dep. of Environmental Maniacs).

    Only a change in politics or politicians will fix this. Sue TVA all you want to but if we, the people, do not ACT now and with passion and tenacity nothing will ever change. Apathy is our worst enemy. Action is our friend now.
    John L. Wathen
    Hurricane Creekkeeper,
    Friends of Hurricane Creek

    Members of
    WATERKEEPER Alliance

    Who has the authority to say someone else
    is not being a good steward of the environment

    Anyone who notices