Cleanup of massive TVA ash spill concludes 5 years later - WSMV Channel 4

Cleanup of massive TVA ash spill concludes 5 years later

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HARRIMAN, Tenn. (AP) - The massive coal ash cleanup near a Tennessee Valley Authority coal-fired power plant in East Tennessee is wrapping up.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that, with the removal of a final pile of gray ash on Friday, the $1.1 billion removal of spilled ash will conclude.

TVA must still monitor layers of ash on the bottom of the Emory and Clinch rivers for 30 years. It was agreed that allowing the streams to naturally bury the ash under layers of sediment was the best solution for the underwater sludge.

It was on a frigid early morning on Dec. 22, 2008 that a containment cell at the Kingston Fossil Plant failed and some 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash spread in what a local resident called an 8-foot-tall tsunami.

"It really is a light at the end of the tunnel," said Craig Zeller, project manager for the Environmental Protection Agency at Kingston. "Now we can focus more on long-term monitoring and other aspects of the project."

TVA says they have implemented a long-term monitoring plan to continue to assess the ecological health of the rivers.

Work also is under way on public recreation areas, which will include fishing piers, walking trails and green space around the former Lakeshore Drive area and the middle and north embayments.

The entire Kingston Recovery Project is not expected to be completed by early 2015, according to a TVA news release.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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