What leaked into Widows Creek?

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BRIDGEPORT – An unknown amount of toxic coal fly ash apparently washed into the Tennessee River at TVA’s Widows Creek steam plant Friday when a gypsum storage pond overflowed, spilling thousands of gallons of waste.

The Tennessee Valley Authority acknowledged in a statement Saturday that the pond contained “some” fly ash, although TVA spokesman Gil Francis told reporters Friday that Widows Creek stored fly ash and gypsum in separate ponds.

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After a fly-ash pond dike at its Kingston steam plant in Tennessee failed Dec. 22, TVA at first estimated 1.7 million cubic yards of ash and water was released, but that number tripled to 5.4 million cubic yards, or 1.1 billion gallons.


But a TVA whistleblower and former plant employee, who asked not to be identified because he is suing the agency, told The Times Monday that fly ash may account for 15 percent to 20 percent of the coal-burning waste dumped into the gypsum pond.


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