Professor Studies Tennessee Ash Spill

(The Appalachian 11-12-2009) Geology professor Roy C. Sidle has received approximately $80,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research evaluating the downstream impact of the coal fly ash spill in Kingston, Tenn. An earth dike at Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston power plant that held sediment for over 50 years gave way Dec. 22, releasing roughly 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash slurry into the Emory River. The volume of the spill characterizes it as the largest in United States history. “Fly ash does contain heavy metals but the levels are not so high,” Sidle said. “The same concern would arise if this volume of ordinary soil was covering up the natural river bottom.”
 
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