Report: Tennessee officials find groundwater contamination under TVA coal plant
- The Associated Press reports Tennessee health officials are investigating high levels of arsenic and lead found under a coal generating plant owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, but so far, they believe there is no threat to local drinking water.
- Groundwater under the Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis measured at 300 times federal drinking water standards, according to The Commercial Appeal, but the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation does not believe there is any threat.
- The plant is located five miles southwest of downtown Memphis, according to TVA. The three coal units can provide more than 700 MW, but are slated to be replaced with natural gas.
TVA already planned to retire coal units at the Allen plant next summer and replaced them with cleaner natural gas. Once complete, TVA says the new gas emissions will reduce carbon emissions by 60%, nitrogen oxides by 90%, and will virtually eliminate sulfur dioxide emissions. But before the new units come online, TVA will be forced to deal with legacy issues.
The AP reports the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has asked Memphis Light, Gas & Water to test its treated drinking supplies. However, the agency believes a level of clay between contamination and the aquifer is protecting drinking water.
Memphis Light Gas & Water built the plant in the 1950s, and TVA purchased it in the mid-80s. The federal power agency is also developing a small solar project at the site, expected to be complete this fall. Memphis Daily News reports the $1 billion gas replacement project is expected to be complete next year.
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