EIP Data Reveals Significant Heavy Metal Contamination in Water Samples Downstream of TVA Kingston Disaster Site

by Lisa Widawsky
The Environmental Integrity Project’s (EIP) preliminary analysis of water samples collected in the weeks following the coal ash spill at TVA’s Kingston power plant on December 22, 2008 has revealed levels of toxic substances that greatly exceed both National Drinking Water Standards and Tennessee’s Water Quality Criteria (TN WQC). Samples collected by United Mountain Defense within the spill-impacted area or down river thereof were submitted to EIP for analysis and have been found to contain high levels of several heavy metals typically associated with contamination from coal ash, including arsenic, lead, beryllium, antimony, copper, cadmium, and selenium.

Feb 4, 2009

Samples of river water were collected from thirteen locations within or down river of the spill-impacted area, seven of which contained concentrations of one or more metals in violation of an EPA Primary Drinking Water Standard, resulting in sixteen exceedances. In addition, six of these thirteen locations contained concentrations of one or more metals that exceeded TN WQC for the protection of fish and aquatic life. While there was only one exceedance of a parameter outside the spill-impacted area, the six samples within or down river of the spill-impacted area contained twenty-four exceedances of TN WQC. Our preliminary data has also detected exceedances of Secondary Drinking Water Standards for aluminum, iron, and manganese in drinking well samples. Heavy metals can be dangerous to the environment and human health, and additional testing is needed over time to adequately assess the risks posed by this disaster.

For the Press Release, click here.


For the Sampling Fact Sheet, click here.


For Tables 1-4, click here