DIKE BREAKS - ASH SLIDE DAMAGES HOMES IN TENNESSEE
It’s all the talk locally, “How could the dike holding a pond of coal ash monitored by TVA just break?”
A large part of a holding-pond some 40 acres in size, and nearly 20 feet deep just pushed away its earthen retaining wall, and spread out over half a mile from its original location.
The “ash pond”, used to store the remains of burnt coal, at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Steam Plant in Roane County, Tennessee, was breeched early Monday morning after an earthen wall collapsed. The resulting "ash slide" spilled across a nearby railway and road, and on into yards of neighboring homes. About a dozen homes were impacted, with one ending up in the middle of Swan Pond Road!
The owner of this home had to contend with his house moving off its foundation as he was struggling with his pants and shoes. The morning was the coldest of the year at 12 degrees, so it was quite a shock for these residents to find themselves forced outside their warm homes.
The railway along Swan Pond Road is the primary access for trains hauling coal into the plant. This access will be blocked for several weeks, but the TVA CEO says there is 50 to 60 days of coal on the ground inside the plant area.
No one was injured in this mishap, but it is of interest to area residents, and others that live near any of the TVA Steam Plants in the Southern system, especially since this has never occurred! Recent rains and the overnight freeze is suspected of being the reason for the breech.
The plant is located just off I-40, between Harriman and Kingston, Tennessee.
A Swan Pond resident, Nate Hendrickson, was awaken Monday around 1AM as the contents of the pond rumbled just short of his home. At about 6AM he heard the sound of the usual morning train, and was shocked to later see it had been derailed after running into the ash slide.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of fish and or other aquatic life were buried beneath the slurry that filled the backwaters of the Emory and Clinch Rivers that runs behind the electric plant.
Mr. Hendrickson snapped these photos after sunrise this morning. Unless you are familiar with the area, you cannot understand the extent of the disaster. It stretches over half a mile from the plant site, filling a large lake, and completely covering a large portion of an access road, and railway in this area.
If TVA had not owned a large part of the area the ash covered, many more homes would have been impacted.