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Brockovich Discusses Monitoring in TVA Ash LawsuitApr. 6, 2009
Weitz & Luxenberg PC has performed, and continues to perform, independent testing of the fly ash from the devastating spill emanating from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston plant. The firm’s attorneys, as well as environmental advocate Erin Brockovich, will be available at a meeting next week to share more information regarding those results, how they may affect residents of the Roane County community, and the status of their current lawsuit.
“Our testing has revealed the far-reaching damage this spill has caused to this community, imperiling people’s health, and devaluing property,” said Robin Greenwald, head of the Toxic Torts unit at Weitz & Luxenberg.
Lab tests of the TVA coal ash sludge revealed numerous potentially harmful metals, including arsenic, which was the highest in concentration. One sample showed 75 parts per million and the second composite showed 91 ppm. EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at 0.010 parts per million.
This data appears consistent with results reported by the Environmental Protection Agency and TVA. Collectively, they reveal that arsenic exposure is likely major concern to area residents. Additionally, surface water samples were collected and tested for arsenic, which was detected at low levels. That finding indicates that vigilant monitoring should continue.
The firm also analyzed the fly ash for radionuclides such as radium and thorium — analysis which TVA has yet to perform. The federal health-based cleanup standard for soil is 5 pCi/g. Our independent testing samples exceeded the cleanup standard for both radium (at 7.92 pCi/g) and thorium (at 11.6 pCi/g). The firm is also performing ongoing analysis to determine the level of toxins in the air.
On December 22, 2008, a dike breach at the TVA plant led to the spill of over a billion gallons of toxic coal fly ash waste. That waste has devalued property and is making some people sick.
On February 18, 2009, Weitz & Luxenberg, together with Nashville, TN counsel May and Ryan, PLC filed an environmental lawsuit against TVA on behalf of over 100 citizens in Roane County and surrounding areas.
The number of residents involved in this legal action has risen to over 190 as more details about the damage emerge.
“In truth, there are no words to describe the scenes of devastation from this disaster,” said Erin Brockovich, who traveled with the firm’s lawyers to view the spill’s impact. She added, “Pictures of it are powerful, but they simply cannot capture the panorama of devastation.”
People who have been affected by the TVA coal ash spill may contact us for a free case review via the form.