Federal utility eyes removal of coal ash from Memphis plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority's coal-burning Allen Fossil Plant on Friday, July 14, 2017 in Memphis, Tenn. Groundwater in wells at the plant have tested for excessive levels of arsenic and lead. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal utility is eying options to unearth and move toxin-laden coal ash from a Memphis power plant to an off-site landfill.

A new Tennessee Valley Authority report rules out options at the Allen Fossil Plant that would leave coal ash totaling 3.5 million cubic yards where it is now.

The authority wrote that the land, which is owned by local governments and the International Port of Memphis, could house future economic development.

High levels of arsenic and other toxins were found in Allen monitoring wells in 2017, spurring fears that an aquifer could be tainted. Testing has since deemed the public water supply unaffected.

A decision on coal ash removal hinges on a federal review and an ongoing state investigation.

Allen's three coal-fired units were retired last March.