Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Environmental Tragedy in Alabama


My January 1, 2009 post was about the huge coal ash spill in Kingston, TN. where 2.6 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge broke through a dike and covered 400 acres up to six feet deep. This “fail” (sounds so much better than disaster, environmental catastrophe, or other such phrases, doesn’t it?) happened on December 29, 2008.

Now the Tennessee Valley Authority says “a waste pond at its Widows Creek power plant in northeast Alabama has ruptured.” This event happened January 6, 2009. Just barely over one week after the Kingston “fail”.

The Associated Press says this: “TVA spokesman John Moulton says the leak in the pond was discovered at about 6 a.m. at the plant near Stevenson, Ala. He said most of the material flowed into a settling pond at the plant site, but some spilled into Widows Creek.

The federal utility says the leak of what it described as gypsum has stopped and it is repairing the pond. It doesn't have an estimate on much material spilled and the cause of the failure is under investigation.”

While it is not clear yet how toxic this spill is – there is a small chance the spill was only gypsum and the local ecosystems won’t be harmed; what is abundantly clear is that the dikes, ponds, or other containers used are woefully inadequate.

Let's hope that the study that claimed that world reserves of coal are actually much smaller than previously thought is right.

I was unable to find a video of the aftermath of this spill; so, I am hoping that means it was both minor and non-toxic. When I uncover the facts, they will be reported here so keep coming back.

If you have an idea you would like to see published, let me know. I’m always looking for causes to promote or activities to expose.

1 comment:

kathi said...

I live between these two spills. When the first one happened, one of the things reported was that there would be more as the holding ponds were not designed for the capacity they run at and that TVA knew this. Then the second one broke. There are lots of nuclear plants around here and we live with the knowledge/fear that something could happen with one of those that would make this beautiful land untenable for (essentially) ever. Who knew that would come from holding ponds instead.