Public questions TVA on ash cleanup

Public questions TVA on ash cleanup

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By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KINGSTON (WATE) -- TVA officials got tough questions from citizens Thursday night at a public meeting about the ash spill cleanup in Roane County. 

"I'm concerned about the long term cumulative effect of hazards we may have been exposed to which we're not aware of," says Peggy Blanchard, who lives on Swan Pond Road, an area in the spill.

"I'm glad to hear them say that they're responding to community concern this evening, but this many months in, I haven't seen a whole lot of evidence of that," Blanchard says.

TVA officials admit they're still working on gaining the public's trust, but say they're on track with their recovery effort. Despite rain delays, they're almost halfway through dredging the Emory River.

They're in the process of deciding, with public input, a plan of attack for all the ash that didn't make it into the water.

The options include leaving it alone, taking it to an off-site landfill or strengthening the pond that collapsed and putting it there. That pond still holds 2.5 million tons of ash.

"The main thing I'm concerned with is the health issues, you know, keeping the ash wet and keeping it from blowing," says Brenda Timm, who has property near the spill. She's part of the newly formed Roane County Community Advisory Group.

"I take the site tours that they have out there, and every time I go, I can see something different," Timm says.

While the cleanup can never go fast enough for Timm, she does acknowledge the progress. "We all need to stick together and ride this through. I think in the end, it will hopefully be beneficial for everyone."

TVA plans to have the Emory River fully dredged by spring and the entire cleanup project complete within three years.

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