EPA found high arsenic levels day after ash spill

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HARRIMAN – Local officials vouched for the safety of Roane County’s drinking water and criticized environmental groups on Friday, even as data from the EPA found elevated levels of arsenic in the Emory River on the day after a Tennessee Valley Authority massive ash spill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released figures from Dec. 23, showing that one surface water sample from the Emory River had arsenic levels that were 149 times higher than maximum contaminant levels.

The water sample from the Emory River near the spill site also showed a total concentration of lead five times above normal and slightly elevated total levels of beryllium, cadmium and chromium. However, the EPA has said samples obtained at municipal water intakes do not contain dangerous levels of chemicals or heavy metals.


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