KINGSTON (WATE) - As the two-year anniversary nears for the TVA coal ash spill in Roane County, a milestone event was reached.
The last load of ash dredged from the Emory River was hauled away Wednesday.
A series of dikes at TVA's Kingston Fossil Plant collapsed on Dec. 22, 2008, causing an estimated 5.4 million cubic yards of ash and sludge to spill into nearby homes, farmland and the river.
TVA and other agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, have worked to clean up the mess.
Dredging began in July 2009. Since then, more than 40,000 rail cars have been used to haul away the sludge.
The last load of ash dredged from the river will be taken by train to a landfill in Alabama.
"Getting started on this project was really a trial and error type undertaking, from what type of cars to use, liners, how many cars in a train," said Kathryn Nash, with the Kingston Recovery Project. "It's a major accomplishment because this is the first time in our country we've shipped this way."
The effort has been a logistical victory for the many people who've worked on the cleanup.
For Roane County residents, it's another step towards life getting back to normal.
Lesley Stone says he feels better about going out to the river for fun.
"Basically, summertime, people enjoy water, fishing," he said. "I like to fish."
The Tennessee Valley Authority says it has reached a milestone in its cleanup of the ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant.More >>
The Tennessee Valley Authority says it has reached a milestone in its cleanup of the ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant: the completion of an earthquake resistant, underground retaining wall around the containment cell at the recovery site.More >>