The Tennessee Valley Authority said Friday it will start spraying water and spreading grass seed this weekend around its Kingston Fossil Plant to minimize possible dust and erosion from last week’s coal ash spill.
In its daily update of its control measures, TVA said it is taking the steps to prevent 1.1 billion gallons of fly ash that spilled out of a dredge cell last week from becoming airborne and creating possible respiratory problems for area residents. The move is the latest by TVA in response to the rupture on Dec. 22 of an ash storage pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant that spewed coal residue over more than 300 acres of the nearby Emory River and surrounding land.
TVA is posting its daily air monitoring results at www.tva.gov
For any exposed ash that is easily accessible by air, TVA officials said the agency will use a helicopter to spray seed and straw using a helicopter. For areas that cannot easily be accessed by air, TVA will use an amphibious vehicle to spread the seed and straw.
TVA officials said that after the seed is sprayed, it should appear green for about two months. TVA said the process is similar to the one used by highway departments to provide ground cover.
Aided by frequent rains over the past two weeks, the fly ash dumped around the Kingston plant has not shown much evidence of becoming airborne, according to air samples by TVA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. TVA said air samples around the Kingston plant show air quality within allowable federal and state standards.