After Tennessee ash spill, cleanup and worry

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Residents are concerned about the long-term health effects of last week’s coal ash spill, one of the worst in U.S. history. Relations with a Depression-era federal utility are damaged, too.
By Richard Fausset
January 1, 2009

Reporting from Roane County, Tenn. — The gunk on the water had thinned to a gray scrim in front of Mike Thomas’ riverfront home — a small sign of progress one week after one of the worst coal ash spills in American history.

But as Thomas drove along the bluff over the Emory River, he pointed to big piles of sludgy, dark gray ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, that had been accidentally disgorged by the nearby electricity plant. The heaps jutted from the water’s surface like ugly volcanic islands. By the shore, many neighbors’ docks sat in ruins, destroyed by mammoth waves when the ash was released.,0,1390124.story


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