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Tenn. Coal Ash Disaster Raises Concerns about Similar Sites Nationwide

In December, tons of spilled coal ash devastated the town of Kingston, Tenn. Tom Bearden reports on the disaster's effects on residents, cleanup efforts and the debate over safety standards for other coal ash storage sites around the country.

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    It's well-established that toxic heavy metals — arsenic, lead, mercury, and selenium — are present in coal ash. The questions now are: How concentrated is the toxic material? Is it migrating into the ground water? And is it blowing in the wind?

    The Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates this plant and 10 others like it, says thousands of air and water samples taken by state and federal agencies have all come up negative. Ron Hall is the Kingston plant manager.

  • RON HALL, Kingston Plant Manager:

    You know, the good news here is the water tests by TDEC, EPA and TVA are in agreement. We don't have water issues going into the water treatment plants. Our air quality monitoring that's being done have not indicated that we have any issues with air quality.