EPA taking over cleanup of Tenn. ash spill

May 12, 2009 at 10:17 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., May 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken over cleanup of a massive coal ash spill at a TVA power plant in Tennessee, officials said.

The Tennessee Valley Authority agreed to the change, and said it would pay for the EPA's new role, The Nashville Tennessean reported. Previously, the Tennessee Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation had primary responsibility with the EPA in an advisory role.

More than 5 million cubic yards of ash loaded with toxic metals -- including arsenic, selenium and cadmium -- spilled from a holding basin at the Kingman Power Plant Dec. 22. The spill destroyed several homes and went into the Emory River, part of the Tennessee River watershed.

"EPA is bringing to bear its resources and expertise ... to work in partnership with the State of Tennessee and local officials to assure a comprehensive cleanup of the TVA coal ash spill, one of the largest and most serious environmental releases in our history," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday.

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