“Clean” coal ash flood may make new Superfund site
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A major environmental disaster occurred yesterday, but few news outlets outside Tennessee appear to be covering it: 2.6 million cubic yards (about 525 million gallons) of fly ash sludge poured out from behind an earthen embankment at the Kingston coal plant (source: The Tennessean). S&R’s Wendy Redal blogged about the October, 2000 Massey Energy coal slurry flood earlier this month – this ashslide is bigger, and while it’s more solid, it still covers 400 acres in up to 6 feet of toxic coal ash.
To put this into scale with the Exxon Valdez spill, this coal ash release is presently estimated to be 48 times larger (in volume) and as dangerous. The release is on a tributary of the Tennessee River, which provides water to millions of people in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky before joining up with the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.