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Anderson Co. leaders hear concerns over TVA Bull Run Fossil Plant's future and coal ash storage

County leaders said the big takeaway from the meeting was that people do not want the coal ash stored in a new landfill.

Anderson County leaders listened to people Tuesday night over the future of coal ash being stored at the Bull Run Fossil Plant, which is planning to close in 2023.

The Tennessee Valley Authority attended the meeting to answer questions and field concerns about the proposed closure. It said it has not made any final decisions about the closure or on a proposed landfill at the site.

County leaders said the TVA should not be allowed to create the landfill under what's known as the Jackson Law, which is a law counties can adopt to prevent landfills from being put in the boundaries of their jurisdiction without a two-thirds majority vote from local commissioners -- blocking the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation from processing the solid waste permit.

Tuesday night's meeting provided people in the community a chance to discuss the Jackson Law and give TVA the chance the provide some understanding on the future of the Bull Run plant. 

County leaders said the big takeaway from the meeting was that people do not want the coal ash stored in a new landfill.

"Either leave it in place, as it's been said tonight -- I believe that's been the majority of the community's response -- or take it somewhere else in a proper venue and clean up the property altogether," Anderson. Co. Commission Chairman Tracy Wandell said.

Wandell said the county is trying to get ahead of the Bull Run closure in order to ensure coal ash storage is handled and contained properly in light of the 2008 Kingston Coal Ash disaster.

RELATED: People in Anderson County call for independent testing over Bull Run coal ash concerns

Several members of the community said they are concerned with how TVA will handle any coal ash relocation or removal, citing the spill as well as lawsuits over unlined storage pits that led to coal ash leaking through dirt wall holes at the Cumberland Fossil Plant in Stewart County. They are calling for independent testing into the matter. 

RELATED: Historic Disaster: 10 years after the ash spill

TVA said it has monitored the water around the Bull Run site, saying there is no indication of an impact to groundwater from coal ash. It said it will be conducting additional investigations with TDEC.

"Water quality surrounding Bull Run supports TDEC-designated uses for water supply, fish and aquatic life, recreation, livestock watering and wildlife, irrigation, and navigation," it said. "The public drinking water system is monitored and tested by local utilities and their results show no impact from CCR and other operations at Bull Run."

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