Slurry Impoundment break in Tennessee

Slurry Impoundment break in Tennessee

It looks like God is at it again. 8 years ago 300 million gallons of coal slurry broke through its impoundment to ruin drinking water for 25,000 people, kill fish and other aquatic life, and make a big mess. The coal company claimed it was an “Act of God.”

Just this past Monday December 22 about 500 millions of the coal goo broke through an impoundment 40 miles east of Knoxville, Tennessee. Thankfully no one died as about 22 homes were gunked. Dead fish were reported downstream in a watershed that flows into the Tennessee River. The spill is about 30 times that of the well-known Valdez oil spill.

Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Gil Francis spoke with reporters on Tuesday.
GIL FRANCIS: The ash pond is approximately forty acres. It’s an area where once the coal is burned, you stack the ash in a pond. And we’ve had about five inches of rain. We think that perhaps the rain and the freezing temperatures may be a contributing factor to the ash pond slide.
REPORTER: What is that dike made out of, and when was it last checked?
GIL FRANCIS: It’s an engineering constructed pond that you take the ash from the plant once the coal has been burned, and you stack it in a pond. And that’s what we did. And apparently the dike that was there failed, and as a result, there was an ash slide, like a mudslide.
REPORTER: Has it been checked recently?
GIL FRANCIS: Yes, it’s checked periodically. There is a schedule of inspections that are being done. I’ll have to get you the exact time it was checked last, but it is checked regularly.

Back to me. It seems like if the pesky freeze and 5 inches of rain had not happened, then the well-constructed, regularly inspected dam would not have broken. Seems like God is at fault, huh?

Which means that places like Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia, that lies underneath a massive coal slurry impoundment might not be safe, either, from a capricious God who doesn’t even respect the upcoming Chrismas season.

Do I sound cynical? Or am I simply sarcastic because I am so angry that these monstrous slurry impoundments continue to threaten and damage communities because big coal is the god that rules these areas.

Now is the time to take strong action to stop this dangerous practice!

See link for Democracy Now transcript  here.