Environmentalists worry the ash-laden sludge that coated a Tennessee neighborhood when a power plant dike burst could pose a health risk, although initial tests by a public utility company have shown no threat to drinking water.
Crews were expected to work through the holiday weekend to contain the aftermath of Monday's breach at the coal-fired Kingston power plant, run by the nation's largest public utility about 50 miles west of Knoxville.
Officials at the Tennessee Valley Authority have said preliminary tests suggest there is no danger to millions of people who get their drinking water from the 652-mile Tennessee River.
And TVA spokesman Gil Francis said crews were cleaning up the sludge.
"The cleanup is making progress," Francis said Thursday, adding the group was moving from the road to other areas. TVA brought in 30 pieces of equipment and more than 100 workers for the work that will take four to six weeks to complete, he said.
And the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe.
Sorry, but there's simply no way a spill of 2 million cubic yards of industrial waste isn't doing serious damage to the environment.
Since moving to Western North Carolina, I've become keenly aware of the evil that is the Tennessee Valley Authority—we breathe the shit pouring from its smokestacks all year, and in the summer, visibility mileage here is often measured in single digits.
The TVA is a federally owned corporation, and as such, I expect Obama to kick its fucking ass into shape. Scrubbers on every goddamn stack, and no more mountaintop-removal mining or sludge pits. There's no such thing as "clean coal", but it can be a hell of a lot cleaner than this.
Video at Crooks and Liars.
UPDATE: The spill is much bigger than initially reported—5.4 million cubic yards (over 1 billion gallons; the Exxon Valdez oil spill was about 11 million gallons). Somehow that much sludge spilled from a retention pond the TVA claimed held only 2.6 million.
UPDATE 2: Officials are warning area residents with wells to "boil their drinking water." Are you fucking kidding me? Boiling water is a nice precaution after a water main break or to kill germs from sewage contamination, but I'm pretty sure it does jack to remove heavy metals. The river looks like the goddamn adamantium vat from X-Men.