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Dam Breach in Tennessee Releases Tsunami of Toxic Coal Sludge

By David Sassoon

Dec 23, 2008

A small mountain of toxic coal sludge stored in a pond near a TVA power plant in Kingston, Tennessee broke through a dike on Monday at 1 am. The sudden flow covered dozens of homes, caused a train wreck and covered more than 400 acres so far.

THE EPA has estimated the spill of the slurry to be 2.6 million cubic yards, which has muddied the waters in the Emory river and is flowing into tributaries of the Tennessee River - the water supply for Chattanooga TN and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

According to the Tennessean, a local paper:

Coal ash can carry toxic substances that include mercury, arsenic and lead, according to a federal study. The amount of poisons in TVA's ashy wastes that could irritate skin, trigger allergies and even cause cancer or neurological problems could not be determined Monday, officials said.

The newspaper described the scene as "like the aftermath of a tsunami, with swirls of dirtied water stretching for hundreds of acres on the land." can be watched here.

The U.S. Coast Guard, EPA, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation were among agencies that responded to the emergency.

For more on the developing story: ,

See Also

The True Face of Mean Coal


Toxic Coal Sludge

No product from this refined, treated processed resource flow? Shame, Yankee Engineers, Shame! You also let huge amounts of fairly clean CO2 up your stacks at coal fired power plants, and the "Cooling Towers" a symbol of your inept, pis poor abilities to extract power - you asshvles waste half the heat from the fuel to the wind! Not so in Sweden, they put this heat to good use! and from the fission(death-machine) reactors too! Yankee Doodle engineers, tooling around in the new 2009, 620 Hp, 231 Mph, 8 Mpg, engineered "just in time" for recession, Corvette, their car of choice, can hardly understand frugality. With the "Cheap Oil Age" ending, and the great republican depression worsening, and now spreading world-wide, these over-indulged egomaniacs will give way to the Chinese trained intelligentsia, coming to our shores in droves, and be displaced by smarter, more ambitious, less indoctrinated, individuals, if not from China alone, certainly from the rest of Asia, and America will see brighter days! The day of comeuppance is here, now!

get rid of coal

Yeah, that's right. Let's get rid of coal so we can all go back to live in the Dark Ages. What is your immediate solution to your "mean coal" claim to power our modern society? Over 50% of our electrcity comes from coal, the next largest is nuclear.
Do you walk the walk? Do you recycle religously (that means also saving your recyclable "trash" from eating out)? What do you do to conserve our resources? Most of the "environmentalists" I know are not much more than vengeful hippocrites. My family of four recycles everything possible, producing on average only 2 kitchen trash bags per month. Our thermostat is set at 65 F. We don't turn on the AC until the internal house temp. reaches at least 85 F. We are conservative, yet we do more to protect the environment that most so-called environmentalists do. We do not favor big government, and sure as hell don't want the government to tax me to death to "study" the biggest hoax of our time "anthropogenic global warming". And the "science" in "Inconvenient Truth" is a joke. Bad graphs, misleading diagrams... CO2 the problem for everything? Better stop breathing. Keep the oceans from releasing it too. What about that other very effective GHG--water vapor? Look into all the areas of the Earth. Only human arrogance can claim they have the power to change the Earth. Ever heard of sunspots? Volcanism? Orbit eccentricity? Precession? Even the reduced particulates (a good thing) brought about by the Clean Air Act (ever consider the possibility that with less pollutants in the atmosphere that more solar energy reaches the surface? The myriad other possibilities out there that cause climate change are not part of the so-called research. Leave coal alone. It's not the problem, people wasting it is.

But the mud has done much

But the mud has done much more than just sully a countryside. Americans' energy consumption habits are a top-tier political issue, and as we look for new ways to curtail global warming, wean ourselves from oil, and find sources of clean energy, coal's role is still unclear.

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