Tennessee Fly Ash Spill Legal Help for Victims

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 03/08/2009 - 2:13pm.

The lawyers / attorneys at our firm are offering free consultations to anyone affected by the Tennessee fly ash spill that occurred on December 22, 2008.   The spill, which was the result of a dam break at the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant, was thought to be the largest fly ash spill in U.S. history. 

The massive Tennessee fly ash spill damaged and destroyed homes, as well as hundreds of acres of land and surrounding waterways.  Fly ash, also known as coal ash, has been shown to contain large quantities of toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and other diseases.  Our Tennessee fly ash spill lawyers are offering representation to anyone who sustained property damage, or is facing serious environmental consequences as a result of this disaster. 

The fly ash pond at the TVA Kingston plant had a history of safety problems.  In the days following the spill, the TVA released  inspection reports showing there had been two other breaches of the same fly ash pond during the previous  six years. A report in  The Tennessean also said the plant's neighbors had reported previous "baby blowouts" that caused less severe contamination.  Our Tennessee fly ash spill lawyers are working hard to determine if negligence on the part of the TVA caused or contributed to this devastating catastrophe.

If you or someone you know were damaged by the TVA coal ash spill, you may be entitled to compensation.  We urge you to contact one of the Tennessee fly ash spill lawyers at our firm right away to protect your legal rights.

Tennessee Kingston Fossil Plant Fly Ash Spill

The Tennessee fly ash spill occurred  around 1:00 a.m. on December 22, 2008 after  a wall holding back 80 acres of sludge from the TVA coal plant in central Tennessee broke.  Initial estimates said as much as 500 million gallons of waste engulfed the surrounding area. The TVA plant is located in Roane County, on a tributary of the Tennessee River called the Clinch River.

The TVA said that up to 400 acres of land had been coated by the sludge, making it 48 times larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.   Though the exact cause of the accident was not known, it was thought that six inches of rain over the previous 10 days and overnight temperatures in the teens contributed to the dam breach.

The fly ash spill damaged  15 homes. All the residents were  evacuated, but at least three homes were deemed uninhabitable.  The spill also clogged the nearby Emory River,  which provides drinking water for millions of people living downstream.

By December 26, the TVA had tripled the estimated amount of fly ash thought to have been released by the dam burst. An aerial survey conducted the day after the spill revealed that a total of 5.4 million cubic yards of waste had been released.  The TVA previously estimated that around 1.7 million cubic yards had been spilled.

Environmental Impact of Fly Ash Spills

It could be years before the environmental impact of the Tennessee fly ash spill is truly known.  In the days after the spill, hundreds of fish were seen floating dead downstream from the plant, and state and federal agencies had yet to complete water quality testing.  The contaminated rivers put the water supply at risk for major downstream cities like Chattanooga as well as millions of other people in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Fly ash is one of the waste products generated when coal is burned.  Studies have shown that fly ash contains significant quantities of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium, which can cause cancer and neurological problems.  However, several days after the spill, the TVA had not issued any environmental warnings to nearby residents, and insisted there was no evidence yet of toxins in the waste.

One environmental advocate told The New York Times that it was "mind boggling" that the TVA had failed to issue any health warning to residents.  He expressed concerns that many residents living near the spill were "walking around, checking it out.” Various environmental groups also warned that the situation would become more dangerous when the toxic muck dried out and became airborne and breathable.

According to The New York Times, a 2006 study by the National Research Council found that  coal-burning byproducts  such as fly ash contain  metals and other chemicals in amounts large enough to "pose public health and environmental concerns if improperly managed.” The study said “risks to human health and ecosystems” might occur when these contaminants entered drinking water supplies or surface water bodies. A 2007 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report also said that over about a decade, 67 towns in 26 states had their groundwater contaminated by heavy metals from similar fly ash dumps.

The TVA estimated it could take months, if not years, to clean up the Tennessee fly ash spill.   The EPA was supervising the cleanup, and was also trying to determine if the area engulfed by the fly ash should be deemed a Superfund site.

Legal Help for Victims of the TVA Fly Ash Spill

If you or someone you know suffered property or environmental damage as a result of  the December 2008 TVA fly ash spill, you have valuable legal rights.  Please fill out our online form, or call 1-800 LAW INFO (1-800-529-4636) to discuss you case with one of our Tennessee fly ash spill lawyers.

February 16, 2009 - source YourLawyer

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 03/08/2009 - 2:13pm.