Breaking News
More () »

TDH: 'Normal' soil levels measured at Swan Pond where kids play more than a decade after coal ash spill

The TN Department of Health said soil test results show less than 1% of coal ash was measured in the soil and people can safely use the Swan Pond Recreational Areas.

ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Health released environmental findings of soil testing at the Swan Pond Recreational Areas in Roane County that were affected by the devastating 2008 coal ash spill. 

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation took 35 surface soil samples in various areas at Swan Pond to protect children in Kingston and Harriman who play there. 

The samples were taken from locations around the two soccer fields, near the outer concessions and rest room areas, around the festival field, the walking trail and in locations at Lakeshore Park.

TDH said the results showed 'normal soil' in all areas that were tested, and the samples had less than 1% coal ash measured.

"Measured levels of metals in soil are not a health concern," the TDH report said. "All surface soil sampling test results were similar to what would be expected for Tennessee soil background levels."

TDH said 'exposure to soil is not expected to harm the health of children' using those areas.

The health department said it recommends Swan Pond Recreational Areas can be used for their intended purposes.

You can read the full report at this link.

Historic Disaster: 10 years after the ash spill

RELATED: TVA to temporarily take control of maintaining sports complex created after coal ash spill

RELATED: TVA chief: We'll take a look at allegations by county, cities in new lawsuit

Back in June, the Tennessee Valley Authority said it was temporarily taking control of the Swan Lake Sports Complex on the property to 'preserve it for the purpose it was intended.'

Residents in the Swan Pond community suffered in particular from the deluge of liquid coal ash that consumed the area in December 2008.

Cleanup workers and families of former cleanup workers allege their health suffered from exposure to the dried muck. Some say they developed blood diseases and cancers; others died.

Dozens have filed a separate lawsuit in U.S. District Court blaming Jacobs Engineering for failing to warn them of health dangers and failing to do enough to protect them as they worked amid the coal ash. They allege Jacobs misled them about what the clean-up work. 

The case is now in mediation between the former workers and Jacobs. TVA is not a defendant in that lawsuit.

Addressing the disaster cost TVA about $1.2 billion. Ten years later, the county and cities complain there are still health and environmental threats to their communities.

They say legacy hazardous materials left over from the burning of coal at the power plant continue to threaten the environment, "leaching" into the area's water supply.

"Due to (TVA's and Jacobs') actions...the entire Roane County community was harmed beyond what would have occurred if a competent and responsible remediator was performing the tasks required with integrity and efficiency, and without the callous and negligent, if not reckless, malicious or intentional disregard for human health and life employed by the defendants," the lawsuit filed in May states.

READ MORE || TVA chief: We'll take a look at allegations by county, cities in new lawsuit 

They seek restitution and damages at trial, alleging the clean-up was botched.

A cell holding liquid coal ash, the byproduct of burning coal, collapsed in December 2008 at the steam plant, spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of the toxic liquid across the countryside and into two nearby rivers.