Source: https://www.wvlt.tv, May 10. 2019
By: Anne Brock
The gate is locked at Swan Pond Sports Complex, where people have walked, played soccer and enjoyed the outdoors near the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant.
Roane County and the Tennessee Valley Authority are awaiting soil sampling done in cooperation with state environmental authorities. The park site was previously used during the long cleanup process after the 2008 spill of approximately 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash from the plant. The ash is byproduct of the burning of coal to produce energy.
Roane County Executive Ron Woody said the county decided to take the extra precaution now with the park. “It became a concern of ours when it was recognized that the workers won a suit and they started reporting how the complex was being built over there. So from that the county decided that we needed to do soil samples before we allowed children to go over there and play.”
Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Scott Brooks said TVA is also testing the soil at this time and has done so in the past. “TDEC is gonna take samples and split it into two and we’re gonna conduct our own testing on those samples.”
Roane County, along with the cities of Kingston and Harriman, are naming TVA and its main cleanup contractor, Jacobs Engineering, in a new lawsuit filed May 7 that alleges the cleanup process did not do enough to protect the citizens of Roane County.
The suit claims Jacobs acted “negligently, recklessly, maliciously and intentionally with callous disregard” for the people of Roane County.
Woody said the stigma of the coal ash spill and cleanup process has kept fewer people from wanting to live and work in the county since around the time of the spill. “You know you got health issues that are related to the workers that could be impacting the community.
But we know we have an economic impact.”