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TVA sued over water pollution in Colbert County

tva-lawsuitBy Hollie Thrasher

The Tennessee Valley Authority is being sued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. In the suit filed April 12th, ADEM claims that The Colbert Fossil Plant, located in Colbert County, is responsible for leaking numerous chemicals into the Tennessee River.

Details of the Lawsuit

The suit shows that ADEM began looking into procedures at the Colbert Fossil Plant back in 1985 after reports that the companies coal ash ponds were leaking into the Cane Creek, a tributary of the Tennessee River.

The company burns coal to provide power, and then the residual ash is dumped into ponds on the property, and this is where the chemicals such as arsenic and mercury, are allegedly being leaked.

“Our samples showed contamination of Cane Creek included elevated levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, selenium, cadmium, and Iron as well as other toxins,” said David Whiteside, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Riverkeeper, a non-profit conservation group that has been investigating the water pollution for more than a year.

“The contaminants are settling to the bottom and eventually seeping out,” he explained.

His group, along with Shoals Environmental Alliance, Southern Environmental Law Center, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Waterkeeper Alliance, was ready to file suit themselves before ADEM stepped in. He says the timing is odd since ADEM has known about the water pollution violations for decades.

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