Kingston Fossil Plant has 27 groundwater monitoring wells, 13 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between January 13, 2010 and September 28, 2016. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of cobalt, selenium, manganese, arsenic, sulfate, beryllium and lead.Site description
The Kingston Fossil Plant is located outside of Kingston, Tennessee, at the confluence of the Clinch and Emory Rivers. The nine coal units at Kingston were built in the 1950s; at the time it was the largest coal plant in the world. Kingston is notorious as the site of the largest coal ash spill in United States history. On December 22, 2008, the ash dredge cell at the Kingston plant collapsed, spilling 5.4 million cubic yards of ash into local waterways and over 300 acres of land. Due to this spill, the U.S. EPA lists Kingston as a proven damage case.
Prior to the ash spill, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was disposing of ash in a complex that included a dredge cell, a settling pond, and a stilling pond. Since the spill, TVA has switched to dry fly ash disposal at Kingston, but continues to use the reconstructed ash complex area, including the original stilling pond.
TVA recently built a sulfur dioxide scrubber sludge (gypsum) disposal area south of the plant. That area experienced a significant sinkhole collapse shortly after it was put into service, draining selenium and other pollutants into the Clinch River. TVA now plans to use the area as a landfill for all coal ash and scrubber sludge gathered by the plant.
For more information about coal ash in Tennessee, see Earthjustice's fact sheet, Tennessee and Coal Ash Disposal in Ponds and Landfill.