The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Health to determine the risk presented by the ash released from the TVA Kingston Class II Industrial Landfill to the local public. To date, sample results indicate the municipal drinking water supply is safe and monitoring continues daily. The department is also sampling private wells in a four mile radius of the site, among other sampling. EPA and TVA are also each involved in sampling activities of air, land and water.
EPA, Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Department of Health and TVA provided information about the potential impact to local citizens if the ash is inhaled. Air monitoring to date has not indicated an exceedance of the PM 10 24-hour standard for particulate matter. A hotline for health effects information has been established by the Tennessee Department of Health, in consultation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at (800) 404-3006.
Click here for Air Monitoring Results
Another concern presented is the level of heavy metals found in the ash. It is important to know both the total amount of heavy metals in the ash and the potential of the ash to allow heavy metals to leach from the material into local ground water used as a drinking water source. It is also important to consider the impact to human health if local citizens either ingest the ash or if their skin is in immediate contact with the ash.
TVA has provided Environment and Conservation with historical analyses of ash at the Kingston site completed in 1990, 1992, 1995 and 2005. Click here for Excel File. Click here to view as PDF. to view this historical information. None of the analytical results for metals received from TVA were at levels that would be considered a hazardous waste under the Tennessee Hazardous Waste regulations for the purposes of waste disposal. However, both the historical results for ash onsite and preliminary sample analysis from EPA indicate some heavy metals at levels above cleanup guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Environment and Conservation and EPA are committed to ensuring cleanup continues in a way that provides long-term protection for citizens.
TVA, EPA and Environment and Conservation are moving forward with further analyses of ash and soil samples to insure the potential risk to the public is responsibly identified and that the ash is managed properly during the environmental clean-up. EPA and TVA have each conducted ash sampling and results will continue to be made public when they are available. The Department of Environment and Conservation plans to collect soil and ash samples the week of January 5, 2009. All sample results will be reviewed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the ash.
Click here for Soil and Ash Results
As previously communicated, as a precautionary measure, people should not walk through the ash or pick-up/touch the ash. If the ash is touched, you should wash with soap and water. Clothes that have come in contact with the ash should be washed separately. While the existing data indicates the ash does not pose an immediate health threat due to toxicity when it contacts the skin, it can be an irritant and the ash material is slick when wet and can cause a safety hazard from slipping.