On December 22, 2008, over 1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash sludge burst through the dam of a waste pond, located 60 feet above the Emory River at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, Tennessee. The waste covered 300 acres below the plant, destroying homes, poisoning rivers and contaminating coves and residential areas. Since then, much has happened: Congress has held hearings, passed resolutions, and introduced legislation; water testing has revealed harmful levels of arsenic, lead and other pollutants; local activists have been harassed; and the US Environmental Protection Agency has vowed to finally regulate the hundreds of similar coal ash sites across the country.
December 23, 2009, marked "One Year Since TVA." The timeline below offers some details about all that's happened since that tragic night in December. While much has been accomplished, EPA's promises of regulations are still delayed—and millions of tons of ash still pose a serious health and environmental threat at the disaster site. In almost every state, coal ash dumps remain unregulated and threaten our health, safety and environment. Earthjustice is working to ensure that this important issue is not forgotten and that the EPA does the right thing by phasing out wet coal ash dumps altogether and treating coal ash as a hazardous waste.