Allen Fossil Plant has 14 groundwater monitoring wells, 12 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between February 16, 2011 and October 17, 2019. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of arsenic, molybdenum, boron, lead, fluoride, manganese and barium.Site description
The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Allen Fossil Plant is located on the south shore of Lake McKellar outside of Memphis, Tennessee in Shelby County. The plant is proximal to an aquifer that supplies water to Memphis and nearby areas. First beginning operation in 1959, the 990-MW facility was at one time the largest single source of air pollution in Shelby County. The original ash pond, located west of the site with a surface area of 24 acres, was deactivated and pumped dry in 1992. A chemical treatment pond was built inside the northeast corner of the abandoned ash pond. The active East Ash Disposal Area was commissioned in 1967 and expanded in 1978 to its current footprint of 70 acres. Plant Allen’s East Ash Disposal Area is regulated under the CCR rule.
The Environmental Protection Agency has identified the Allen plant as a potential damage case. TVA retired the coal plant in 2018, following a settlement for Clean Air Act violations. In 2011, TVA’s inspector general found that there had toxic metals leaking from Allen’s coal ash pond for more than ten years.
For more information about coal ash in Tennessee, see Earthjustice's factsheet, Tennessee and Coal Ash Disposal in Ponds and Landfills.