Roane Co. residents learn more about coal ash plan

12:39 AM, Nov 9, 2012   |    comments
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Residents are reacting to a plan to leave 500,000 cubic yards of coal ash at the bottom of the Emory and Clinch Rivers near Kingston.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced its approval of TVA's plan Thursday. The move comes almost four years after a retaining wall at the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant failed, unleashing more than a billion gallons of coal ash into the ecosystem.

Previous Story: TVA ash to remain in Emory and Clinch rivers

According to the EPA, radioactive material still sits on the bottom of the Emory and Clinch rivers, remnants of Oak Ridge's old Manhattan Project days. EPA Project Manager Craig Zeller said the plan to let the coal ash sit will reduce the possibility of that material being dredged up into the water.

A number of residents who gathered at Roane County High School to discuss the plan Thursday thought it was a good idea as well.

"If we go in and start dredging, start dropping rocks, capping, or whatever, that's going to set us back," said Joni Morgan, of the Roane County Advisory Group.

Some Roane County residents expressed concern over other issues at the meeting.

Lowell Malmquist, of Kingston, said he was curious as to what would be done to restore lost property values in the area.

"The newspapers kill us, and they've hurt our property value," he said.

According to TVA Senior Vice-President Bob Deacy, TVA has given $43 million to Roane County in an effort to help the area and its perception to outsiders.

"We've also given another $44 million on studies for health and other ecological assessments," Deacy said.

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