Environmental 1045 articles

West Virginia dams to be inspected for safety

The Kingston, Tennessee coal ash spill last month has spurred the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a review of coal fly ash contaminant dams across West Virginia, according to the Tennessean. The inspections are a precautionary measure to ensure that the dams across the state are structurally sound and that there is not threat of another dangerous spill occurring. The dam safety program will require dam owners to provide updated inspection reports and evaluations of the structures including any risk of impoundment breaking through into inactive or abandoned mines. State engineers also will conduct inspections both on ground at ... Read More

One month later, impact of spill hard to grasp

A month after a holding pond at a coal-fired electric plant in Kingston, Tennessee, spilled over and poured more than 2.2 million pounds of toxic materials over 300 acres in East Tennessee, authorities are still trying to get a grasp of the economic toll it will take on the area, according to The Institute for Southern Studies. A team of scientists from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., have begun collecting water, sediment and fish samples from the Emory, Clinch and Tennessee rivers, and what they have found is alarming. Many of the fish collected by the scientists had large ... Read More

Spill’s long term effects a concern for wildlife

The coal ash spill last month that dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic material onto 300 acres of rural east Tennessee may threaten wildlife for years to come, according to National Geographic. The ash contains dangerous toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and thallium that can lead to health problems in humans such as cancer, liver damage and neurological complications. Wildlife can suffer serious consequences as well. The first blow to animals in the area came when the spill occurred. Animals that were caught in the spill’s wake died from strangulation or from being buried in the sludge ... Read More

Iowa’s 6,200 leaking underground storage tanks

Leaking fuel and oil from underground storage tanks threatens drinking water wells, lakes, streams, and basements all over the state. Leaks can spread a little or a lot and they can contain a variety of chemicals. This map shows all sites listed with a leak by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as of May 2008. What’s leaking? Most underground storage tanks leak gasoline, and the main chemicals of concern are benzene, toluene, and ethylbenzene. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has established levels of these chemicals “where it is known that there is no risk to the health to ... Read More

Iowa pollution perils lurk among buried fuel tanks

Leaking underground fuel tanks threaten to contaminate drinking water, lakes, streams and homes across Iowa as environmental officials change rules to speed up detection and cleanup. There are about 6,200 leaking underground storage tanks in the state — and more than 1,500 are considered ongoing contamination risks. Some of the leaking tanks have been problems for more than 15 years. Almost 820 are labeled high-risk. State officials say they are trying to devise new rules so that the most hazardous sites, which often take years to clean up because of bureaucratic red tape and legal wrangling, can be addressed faster. ... Read More

Early TVA memo indicates effort to minimize coal ash disaster

A memo that apparently passed through the hands of several folks at the TVA drafting “talking points” about the Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill of Dec. 22 appears to attempt to minimize the significance of the disaster, according to a report today from the Associated Press. The memo was apparently sent to the AP by accident, according to their report. They say the memo shows additions and deletions that change more alarming language to tone down the sense of urgency and threat resulting from the coal ash spill. An example cited by the AP story says the word “catastrophic” ... Read More

2nd coal ash spill reported in Alabama

According to the Tenneseean, the TVA is investigating a leak from a gypsum pond at its Widows Creek coal-burning power plant in northeastern Alabama, a spokesman said at about 10:45 a.m. Central Time. The leak, discovered before 6 a.m. has been stopped, according to John Moulton, with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Advertisement “Some materials flowed into Widows Creek, although most of the leakage remained in the settling pond,” he said. Gypsum is a byproduct of coal-burning power plants when “scrubbers” are added that use limestone spray to clean air emissions. This pulls sulfur dioxide from the emissions. Tighter air emissions ... Read More

Beasley Allen files coal ash spill class action lawsuit on behalf of residents and property owners affected

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Montgomery, Ala. – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a class action suit on behalf of property owners damaged by the Dec. 22, 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant. Located 40 miles west of Knoxville, Tenn., the plant released 1.1 billion gallons of toxin-laden sludge into a rural neighborhood when a waste storage pond retaining wall failed. The suit is filed against the TVA, the nation’s largest public utility, over potentially the most significant environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Beasley Allen will be working with ... Read More

Ash ponds at two Birmingham coal facilities top list for arsenic

A report published today by the Birmingham News says the coal ash retaining ponds at two Birmingham-area coal-fired energy plants contain the highest levels of arsenic in the country, ranked and Nos. 2 and 3 on a list compiled by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). The study evaluates the amount of ash deposited in on-site ash ponds and landfills from 2000-2006, according to the News report. The EIP released the report, titled “Disaster in Waiting: Toxic Coal Ash Disposal in Impoundments at Power Plants” yesterday. The report says U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data shows power plants are disposing of high ... Read More

Beasley Allen evaluating claims resulting from Tennessee coal-ash spill disaster, eyeing safety of Alabama plants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONTGOMERY, ALA. – Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., is currently evaluating claims on behalf of property owners affected by a devastating coal ash spill in Tennessee. The disaster spilled thousands of pounds of coal ash and toxic waste across more than 300 acres. The event occurred when an earthen retaining wall at the Kingston Fossil Plant failed, creating one of the largest coal fly ash spills in the United States. The plant is located 40 miles west of Knoxville, Tenn. Coal-fired power plants produce coal ash and other toxic waste byproducts. The waste contains ... Read More