News | June 30, 2016

New map shows drinking water supplies for 3M in Tennessee and Alabama at risk from TVA coal ash

A new SELC map shows that drinking water supplies for 3 million people–2,300,000 in Tennessee and 700,000 in Alabama–are downstream from leaking, unlined coal ash sites located on or in rivers that TVA proposes to cover up and let pollute rivers and groundwater indefinitely.

“It’s past time for TVA to clean up, not cover up, the coal ash that it’s been storing in unlined holes in the ground next to—and sometimes located within—our rivers for decades where it’s been polluting our groundwater and threatening our water supplies,” said Amanda Garcia, staff attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Families and communities in Tennessee and Alabama deserve clean water and shouldn’t have to bear the burden of TVA’s continued pollution of their drinking water supplies as TVA proposes. To protect our clean water and communities, TVA needs to move its coal ash to dry, lined storage away from our waterways and out of our groundwater.”

Communities that take drinking water downstream of the six leaking, unlined coal ash sites that TVA proposes to cover up and leave unlined, leaking into groundwater next to rivers include among many others: Knoxville, TN; Oak Ridge, TN; Chattanooga, TN; Florence, AL; and Scottsboro, AL. Communities in Nashville, TN and Clarksville, TN are downstream of TVA coal ash sites that TVA will be considering covering up in the near future. Downstream communities can be viewed on the map here

Of note, the City of Memphis draws its water supply primarily from an underground aquifer. High levels of arsenic and other coal ash indicator pollutants have been found in groundwater under the ash ponds at the nearby Allen Fossil Plant.

TVA is currently taking public comments on its plan through the email address: ccr@tva.gov.