TVA applies to build Gallatin landfill to store coal ash - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

TVA applies to build Gallatin landfill to store coal ash

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GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -

Following the huge coal ash spill in Kingston in 2008, the Tennessee Valley Authority has aimed toward making improvements to coal-fired plants.

TVA is spending billions of dollars to prevent future catastrophes, and officials want to build an industrial landfill at the Fossil Plant in Gallatin at a cost of about $50 million to $60 million.

"What's going to come out of that is leftover ash and gypsum that we will need to store in a dry facility, which will be the landfill," said TVA spokesperson Scott Brooks.

TVA has applied for a permit to build a 54-acre landfill on the Gallatin property to store the ash.

"Nobody wants to see another coal ash disaster like the one we saw at Kingston, and that's why it's critical that [Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation] get this permit right. It's critical that they work with TVA to issue a best-in-class landfill that is well-engineered and well-sited," said Chris Lunghino, with the Sierra Club.

Environmentalists like the Sierra Club are concerned that the coal is a health hazard.

"Coal ash is toxic. Coal ash contains metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury," Lunghino said.

They also worry TDEC regulations are not strong enough.

"This is going to be a dry landfill treated essentially like any municipal landfill. It's going to be lined at the bottom. It's going to be a leeched system to collect and convert runoff, and, so essentially, something like Kingston will not be able to happen because it is a completely separate process," Brooks said.

TVA says the landfill should be ready to operate as soon as construction on the air controls is completed next year.

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