NASHVILLE –Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) filed a resolution today calling for the expeditious removal of toxic coal ash from the containment ponds at the Allen Fossil Plant on President’s Island in Memphis. Senate Joint Resolution 29 asks the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to take action to ensure that Memphis water is protected from a potential breach.
“Clean water is one of our most precious resources in West Tennessee. We should be doing everything we can to ensure that it remains safe and clean for future generations,” said Sen. Kelsey. “Action must be taken to ensure that arsenic and other toxic compounds found in the coal ash landfill sites are not leaking into our water supply. It is essential that the coal ash containment ponds at the plant be emptied and closed as quickly as possible in the interest of public health.”
Allen Fossil Plant is one of the ten most polluted coal ash landfill sites in the nation. Arsenic found in the nearby groundwater is 350 times higher than recommended levels. A breach of the thin protective clay barrier between the shallow aquifer could contaminate the Memphis Sand aquifer which is known as one of the purest drinking water sources in the U.S.
The resolution references the disastrous 2008 spill at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant, which was the largest coal fly ash release in U.S. history. The spill’s clean-up involved the largest exposure of workers to coal ash in U.S. history. A U.S. District Court jury recently found that coal ash poisoning was responsible for the deaths of at least 30 workers who participated in the clean-up and the illness or terminal health condition of 250 more persons.
“The coal ash spill in Kingston not only had disastrous effects on workers and their families but also on the environment and economic health of that community,” added Kelsey. “That alone should be enough reason for TVA to act quickly to empty the ash ponds at Allen. I hope this resolution from the Senate of Tennessee will prompt TVA to take action to ensure that the health and safety of our citizens are protected.”