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The Tennessee Valley Authority's Bull Run Fossil Plant in Clinton, Tenn., is undergoing a new coal ash disposal method.The Tennessee Valley Authority's Bull Run Fossil Plant, shown in this photo taken Wednesday, June 15, 2005, near Oak Ridge, Tenn., will undergo a $300 million construction project to install a scrubber to reduce sulfur dioxide emmissions. The project is expected to be operational by 2009.(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

The Tennessee Valley Authority is planning to cap and treat coal ash ponds at the Bull Run Fossil Plant near Oak Ridge, Tenn.

TVA, which is converting all its coal-fired power plants to dry ash storage, is planning to cap, treat and store most of its coal ash from its wet storage ponds in place, rather than dig up and remove all of the coal ash. Despite opposition from some environmental groups, TVA's environmental assessment — and supplemental report on Bull Run released last week — determined the cap and wastewater treatment process was the most effective.

"We want to cap and close in place the 33-acre ash impoundment [at Bull Run]," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said Monday. "Part of that we would dewater, grade and cover with an impenetrable cover and part of it we take through the wastewater treatment system."

TVA is in the process of converting from wet to dry storage all its coal plants. Bull Run, which began operation in 1967, stopped using water to move ash in 2015, and coal ash wastes are now stored in dry waste systems.

The 33-acre fly ash impoundment is located on the banks of the Clinch River.

In the wake of the 2008 ash spill at TVA's Kingston Fossil Plant that dumped 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry into the Emory River and surrounding property, TVA pledged in 2009 to spend up to $2 billion to transfer all coal ash storage at its fossil fuel plants to dry storage.

Details of the proposed action at Bull Run, including possible alternatives considered, are included in a Final Supplemental Environmental Assessment issued last week.

TVA said the project "is expected to improve protection of the groundwater around the site, and is not expected to have a significant overall impact on the environment."

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