Workers sue company contracted to clean up Kingston ash spill

Workers sue company contracted to clean up Kingston ash spill

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The 49 plaintiffs accuse Jacobs Engineering of exposing them to arsenic, mercury, barium, and other materials associated with toxic fly ash at the cleanup site, causing them health problems. The 49 plaintiffs accuse Jacobs Engineering of exposing them to arsenic, mercury, barium, and other materials associated with toxic fly ash at the cleanup site, causing them health problems.
The lawsuit alleges Jacobs Engineering had documents in its possession detailing how to deal with the safety of fly ash, but purposely ignored them. The lawsuit alleges Jacobs Engineering had documents in its possession detailing how to deal with the safety of fly ash, but purposely ignored them.

KINGSTON (WATE) - A class action civil lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court Thursday against Jacobs Engineering Group, alleging the company knowingly exposed subcontracted workers at the Kingston Fossil Plant to toxic chemicals during cleanup of the 2008 TVA ash spill.

The 49 plaintiffs accuse the company of exposing them to arsenic, mercury, barium, and other materials associated with toxic fly ash at the cleanup site, causing them health problems.

Jacobs Engineering Group was contracted to clean up the spill.

The plaintiffs say the company misrepresented to workers of other companies at the site that the cleanup would be conducted in a safe and timely manner, and told the workers that fly ash was not harmful to their heath, even though the company knew otherwise.

The lawsuit alleges Jacobs Engineering had documents in its possession detailing how to deal with the safety of fly ash, but purposely ignored them.

The plaintiffs say they worked long hours each day in close proximity with toxic fly ash, and it was often inhaled and became embedded in their skin.

The workers say they often asked Jacobs Engineering to provide them with respirators, dust masks and other protective equipment, but all their requests were denied.

The plaintiffs are asking for a trial by jury, with punitive damages not to exceed 20 percent of the total amount of Jacobs Engineering's contracts to work at the Kingston Fossil Plant.

Roane County Commissioner Randy Ellis issued this statement Thursday afternoon.

"I was shocked to learn about a Federal Lawsuit that was filed against  JACOBS ENGINEERING GROUP, INC. the company employed by the TVA to remediate the Ash Spill sight in Roane County.  The allegations set forth in the suite are very serious.  Early on in the spill aftermath I raised concern about the impact on the health of the Roane County citizens due to the toxic constitutes in the coal ash.  We were told time and again by the TVA that the ash was harmless.  We now see internal documents that  clearly outline the toxicity of the fly ash and see allegations that this fact was covered up and in turn several workers on the site have become ill.  There is even allegations of improper air quality testing.  My main concern is the safety of the citizens of Roane County.

I immediately call on the TVA to completely audit their air and water quality monitoring protocol.   I also call on the EPA to step in and take over as the lead agency on the spill clean up and monitoring.  I also call upon the US Attorneys office to look into the allegations of improper air quality monitoring.  My main concern is the health and safety of the citizens of Roane County.  And every step should be taken ASAP to make sure that the spill remediation is conducted properly and safely."


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