Wednesday, TVA leaders announced it will remove coal ash from its retired plant in southwest Memphis, which sits above our main drinking water supply.
The decision comes after TVA leaders admitted earlier this month that part of the Memphis aquifer could be exposed to possible contamination
This coal ash removal won’t happen anytime soon. It’s still years away before any bulldozers or trucks roll in to take it out.
In the meantime, TVA leaders said our drinking water is safe as they embark on a lengthy coal ash removal plan.
After months of community meetings and discussion, the public spoke loudly and consistently in recent months.
“A lot of comments came asking us to remove the coal ash,” TVA spokesperson Scott Brooks said.
That input played a major role, as TVA leaders announced Wednesday that they’ll remove coal ash from the retired Allen Station.
The coal ash removal decision is made, but many details are still undecided and won’t be known for months, if not years.
“We’ll come up with draft environmental impact statement, which will take into consideration all of those different possibilities of how long it would take to remove, how you would have to remove it, using trucks, that sort of thing, where we would take it to,” Brooks said.
This week, Tennessee 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen urged the TVA to speed up the coal ash removal.
“We’d say the same thing him that we say to every member of the public; we are following the process that we need to follow to make sure that it’s done safely, and it’s done right,” Brooks said.
TVA leaders said this decision isn’t connected to the admission earlier this month of the breach of a clay barrier near the coal ash ponds. So far, TVA and MLGW testing showed no issues.
“We know that it’s not contaminating the lower aquifer. We know that it’s not impacting drinking water, and those are things we are going to continue to monitor,” Brooks said.
Arsenic and other chemicals were found in the shallow portion of the Memphis aquifer. Our drinking water comes from a deeper area.