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Environmental 1102 articles

EPA receives $200 million in stimulus money for UST removal, cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today its allocation of $200 million in funds appropriated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – popularly known as the economic stimulus package, which President Obama signed into law on February 17. The EPA will use these funds for the assessment and cleanup of at least 1,600 leaking underground storage tanks throughout the country, creating or retaining “significant numbers of jobs” in the process. According to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, the agency is “providing immediate growth opportunities across the nation, as well as long-term protection from dangerous pollution in the land ... Read More

Coal ash disaster affects those not directly affected by spill

Residents of east Tennessee probably thought little of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-firing plant in Kingston, or the toxic brew of coal ash that had been brimming in an impoundment pond for years. But as residents built homes on property just miles away and fished and boated in the Emory River that snaked nearby, the pond walls were beginning to seep and were showing erosion scarring in some areas. Yet, an October 2008 inspection deemed the Kingston Fossil Plant structurally sound. And life went on as normal for the residents of Kingston. Until December 22, 2008, when the walls ... Read More

Bill to protect UST funds passes Illinois House

Back in March we talked about how the money in Illinois’ Underground Storage Tank Fund was being spent for other purposes under the Blagojevich administration, leaving some businesses that performed extensive (and expensive) tank cleanup work for the state high and dry. Now state representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) has introduced a bill to the legislature that would protect the state’s UST fund from future sweeps and transfers. Illinois’ House bill 770 underscores the importance of maintaining a fund for UST cleanup. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency administers the UST Fund, which the agency established in 1989 to help tank owners ... Read More

Engineers raised questions about coal ash pond walls decades ago

For decades, engineers raised questions about the walls of an impoundment pond containing toxic coal ash at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston, Tennessee coal-burning plant, according to the KnoxvilleBiz.com. They questioned the way the walls were built and argued that they were not initially designed to stand as tall as they did. Those concerns fell on deaf ears then, but now have a voice after the walls of the pond broke loose last December and dumped 1.1 billion gallons of toxic material on to 300 acres of an east Tennessee community and into the waters of the Emory River. ... Read More

EPA trains Navajo Nation UST inspectors

Underground storage tank inspectors for the Navajo Nation’s Environmental Protection Agency launched a two-year program geared toward inspecting all of the tanks buried on Navajo land. The federal EPA announced on March 24 that it had issued inspector credentials to two inspectors from the Navajo Nation’s EPA. The Navajo inspectors now have the authority to carry out the important inspections on behalf of the federal EPA. The Navajo inspectors are also authorized to issue citations for tanks that do not meet federal EPA criteria for safety. Fines for problematic tanks, normally ranging from $500 to $3,000, encourage tank owners to ... Read More

TVA may have to raise customers’ rates to relieve financial woes

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) may have to lean on customers to relieve some of its financial pains, according to the Associated Press. The nation’s largest utility is spending $1 million a day to clean up the mess left behind when a coal ash impoundment pond at its Kingston, Tennessee coal-burning plant failed and dumped more than a billion gallons of toxic material on to an east Tennessee community and into the Emory River. The coal ash spill cleanup effort is expected to cost the utility between $525 million and $825 million. TVA also faces millions of dollars in pollution ... Read More

Drinking water may be contaminated by coal ash spill

AlterNet.org is reporting that during testing of the water in the Emory River, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) may have intentionally collected the samples from clean areas, backing up the utility’s claim that that residents’ drinking water is safe. The Emory is a major supplier of drinking water in the area and a popular spot for water sports such as swimming, boating and fishing. However, third-party tests have found high levels of toxins in the river as well as in private wells, according to the report. More than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge spilled over 300 acres of ... Read More

Scientist develops new product from coal ash

As one east Tennessee community struggles to recover from the devastating spillage of coal ash from a nearby Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-burning plant on to its land and waterways, one man is working to find better uses for the waste leftover from coal burning. Mulalo Doyoyo, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has developed a new structural material from coal ash and bottom ash that is strong and lightweight enough to serve as an alternative to cement in concrete. The new coal ash byproduct, called Cenocell, has good insulating properties and is fire ... Read More

Judge denies TVA’s request for more time to carry out pollution controls

Problems continue to mount for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This week a federal judge upheld an order handed down in January that the TVA accelerate its billion-dollar program to clean up four of its coal plants in Tennessee and Alabama so the plants could stop polluting the air in North Carolina, according to the Associated Press/Forbes. The TVA had asked for more time to carry out those orders, requesting one more year – to 2012 – to install smokestack scrubbers at its John Sevier plant in Rogersville, Tennessee, and two more years – to 2014 – to carry out ... Read More

Congressional committee to ask ‘why’ coal ash spills occur

A congressional committee will focus on why a large Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal ash impoundment failed last December, which resulted in one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history, according to News Channel 5. The breach caused more than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge to spill on to 300 acres of an east Tennessee community, destroying homes and damaging property in its wake. Coal ash contains dangerous toxins such as arsenic and lead which can contribute to serious health problems such as cancer, liver damage and neurological problems. Since the spill, the TVA has spent a ... Read More