HARRIMAN, Tenn. — Environmentalists worry the ash-laden sludge that coated a Tennessee neighborhood when a power plant dike burst could pose a health risk, although initial tests by a public utility company have shown no threat to drinking water.
Crews were expected to work through the holiday weekend to contain the aftermath of Monday’s breach at the coal-fired Kingston power plant, run by the nation’s largest public utility about 50 miles west of Knoxville.
Officials at the Tennessee Valley Authority have said preliminary tests suggest there is no danger to millions of people who get their drinking water from the 652-mile Tennessee River.
And TVA spokesman Gil Francis said crews were cleaning up the sludge.
“The cleanup is making progress,” Francis said Thursday, adding the group was moving from the road to other areas. TVA brought in 30 pieces of equipment and more than 100 workers for the work that will take four to six weeks to complete, he said.
A TVA news release Wednesday said there was no threat to the environment from the breach at the plant near Harriman along the Emory River, which joins the Clinch River and flows into the main Tennessee River.