T.V.A. POND BREACH AND ASH FLOOD AFFECTS SELF FAMILY IN ROANE CO., TENNESSEE
Wesley Self said “our cove is full of ash right now”. He said it was like heaven where they live before the spill and now it looks like a war zone or a construction zone. Everything is completely changed. Three homes were completely destroyed near where the Self’s live. Water was within 10 feet of Dixie’s house after the spill.
Dixie, who is 86 years old, said they cannot look outside without crying. “It was nice, comfy and homey. Now it’s all gone”, she said. “We had good neighbors. Now, it’s all gone.” She also said that they have to accept what happened and go on. “You have to have faith and go on.”
Wesley told me that they could not see the steam plant from their homes before the disaster happened. He said now, the plant is all they can see. Every tree is gone. The landscape is ruined. It was all washed away and destroyed by the ash spill and flooding.
The ash spill occurred December 22, 2008 when wet ash broke through the wall of a retention pond at the fossil plant. It covered hundreds of acres of privately owned land. The spill was brought on by several inches of rain in the region, just days before the spill. Coal fly ash contains various toxic chemicals including arsenic, mercury, beryllium, thallium and selenium. It is a by-product of burning coal to produce energy.
T.V.A. (Tennessee Valley Authority) and other agencies say tests show no signs of contamination above regulatory levels. Local residents are not so sure about that finding. The spill will cost millions of dollars to clean up. Several lawsuits have already been filed against T.V.A. over the spill.
For more information concerning the spill, visit the websites of the Knoxville News-Sentinel and T.V.A. at www.knoxnews.com and www.T.V.A.gov