TVA plans 'natural recovery' for coal ash in Kingston rivers

photo Staff File Photo by Patrick Smith Remains of a coal ash spill that blanketed more than 300 acres in Harriman, Tenn., surround the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant.

TVA says it will use "natural river processes" to address an estimated 500,000 cubic yards of coal ash left in the Clinch and Emory rivers from the 2008 Kingston ash spill.

In a news release, the agency said "monitored natural recovery is the preferred option among several alternatives" for dispersing ash released when a dike collapsed spilled more than 5 million cubic yards of ash across land and water.

Such monitoring "avoids disturbing legacy contaminants from past U.S. Department of Energy projects in the river system, provides the best balance with respect to effectiveness and implementation, and is the most cost-effective option for consumers of TVA power," the release said.

Earlier, TVA had estimated a cost of $10 million to monitor the affected land and water for the next 30 years, compared to as much as $179 million to dig up and haul away the spilled ash.

A public meeting on the decision is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Roane County High School at 540 Cumberland St. in Kingston, Tenn.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.