The Tennessee Valley Authority is asking if there are any downsides to draining a failed coal ash storage pond in Kingston and converting it to dry storage. A public hearing is set for Tuesday night at Roane County High School.
Until December of 2008, the by-product from burning coal was soaked in water and piled up near the power plant in Kingston. Then, the walls that held back the ash pond collapsed and released 5 million cubic yards of toxic sludge.
TVA is still dredging ash out of the nearby Emory River and shipping it to a landfill in Alabama. But once that’s done, the plan is keep only a few days-worth of ash on site in a dry form. Then it will be taken away to landfills or to be sold for construction use.
TVA spokeswoman Barbara Martocci says the environmental review is all part of the conversion process.
“We have not heard a lot of concerns, no. But we always want to make sure the opportunity is available for people to let us know things that we might not be aware of.”
The dry storage will mean more traffic round the Kingston plant – as many as 90 trucks a day. If approved, the conversion could be completed by next summer.
TVA plans to eventually convert all of its coal ash storage to dry systems.