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REPORT FINDINGS

* TVA's Shawnee Fossil Plant - Groundwater contaminated with arsenic and selenium exceeding federal standards, boron exceeding EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory. Reddish leachate seeps into Little Bayou Creek. Metropolis Lake in adjacent state-owned park is contaminated with mercury.

* TVA's Cumberland Steam Plant - Groundwater downhill of the gypsum storage area and ash ponds contains arsenic more than twice the standard, selenium three times the standard, and boron 13 times the Child Health Advisory. Aluminum, chloride, iron, manganese, sulfate also exceed the standards.

* TVA's Gallatin Fossil Plant - An unlined closed ash pond has contaminated groundwater with beryllium up to six times the standard, cadmium also exceeds the standard. Nickel exceeds the state standard by 2.5 times and boron consistently exceeds the federal Child Health Advisory. Two newer active ash impoundments are not lined or monitored.

* TVA's Johnsonville Fossil Plant - An active ash disposal area is unlined on an island in the middle of the Tennessee River. Groundwater on the island and at onshore dumps contains arsenic, aluminum, boron, cadmium, chromium, iron, lead, manganese, molybdenum and sulfate far above federal standards and federal health advisory levels.

Source: Report by Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and Sierra Club

A new report says water contamination from coal ash is much worse than has been previously estimated, adding 39 additional toxic waste sites from coal-fired electric power plants in 21 states - including Tennessee.

The new number brings the total sites with documented problems to 137, analysts said.

"We want (state and federal) monitoring at these sites to be more effective," said Jeff Stant, director of the Environmental Integrity Project and an author of the 21-page report. "The owners of these sites should not be given a perpetual license to pollute."

The report, put together by Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, lists three new Tennessee Valley Authority ash ponds as polluters, ponds that are similar to the one in Kingston that failed almost two years ago.

Report researchers analyzed state and federal records and discovered that water pollution damage from ash has been documented at four TVA coal plants - Cumberland and Johnsonville west of Nashville, Gallatin east of Nashville and Shawnee near Paducah, Ky.

Three of those ash sites - Shawnee, Johnsonville and Gallatin - drain to groundwater that then flows into the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, respectively.

At the Gallatin plant, the report states the level of beryllium has been measured at almost six times the maximum contaminant level for drinking water. The measure was made in groundwater moving off-site toward the adjacent Cumberland River.

UPCOMING HEARINGS

* A unofficial citizens meeting to consider EPA's proposed "hazardous" classification for coal ash will be in Harriman, Tenn., on Sept. 2 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Roane State Community College.

* Seven official hearings have been scheduled by the Environmental Protection Agency, but none are in Tennessee despite requests from numerous environmental groups. The meetings begin Monday and are in Arlington, Va.; Denver, Colo.; Dallas, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago, Ill.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Louisville, Ky.

Analyses for the wet coal ash disposal area at the Johnsonville plant, an unlined pond/landfill on an island in the middle of the Tennessee River, found arsenic, aluminum, boron, cadmium, chromium, iron, lead, manganese, and other contaminants "far above" standards and federal health advisory levels.

TVA spokeswoman Barbara Martocci said TVA's plants receive "extensive scrutiny" and called the report "misleading."

"This report is highly subjective, uses very select data and does not discuss the full breadth of data that is reported to states on groundwater at TVA's fossil plant sites," she said in a prepared statement.

Martocci said TVA is working with Tennessee and Kentucky to evaluate groundwater problems that TVA discovered at the Gallatin, Cumberland and Shawnee fossil plants and reported to state officials.

Just days before EPA begins a series of regional hearings across the country on how to regulate the disposal of coal ash, the report was unveiled to raise awareness, group officials said.

Stant said the report further points up the need for national regulation and oversight.

"Leaving enforcement to the same states that have refused to do their jobs for the last 40 years is simply not a responsible course of action," he said.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman Tisha Calabrese-Benton said the state appreciates groups and citizens taking an interest in environmental issues, but "sensationalizing issues ... is not particularly constructive in achieving science-based solutions to the environmental problems we all face.

"It is important to note that, despite what may be indicated in the report, our Division of Water Supply indicates there are no public drinking water problems resulting from the TVA Cumberland, Gallatin and New Johnsonville facilities," she said.

A recent health report from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities and Vanderbilt University stated there are no health problems among people examined near the Kingston spill site.

But Oak Ridge researchers have acknowledged that more study is needed, saying only examined about 200 people total and only a handful from within a one-mile radius of the spill.

Because TVA funded the study, many in the community questioned the independence of the work, acknowledged Dr. Donna Cragle and Dr. Donna Seger, who conducted the exams.

Cragle is director of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities and Seger is a physician, an associate professor with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the medical director of the Tennessee Poison Center.

TVA announced recently that it plans to spend $351 million in the next fiscal year on environmental improvements at its coal-fired power plants, including ash management projects.

Last Friday, TVA directors approved contracts with four engineering design companies to replace the ash ponds now used at six TVA's 11 coal-fired plants.

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