OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Valley Authority leaders are aiming to shut down the Bull Run Fossil Plant by the end of 2023. Before it happens, dozens were at a meeting Thursday night in Oak Ridge learning more about an updated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
“In 2018 when the permit was originally issued, TVA and we didn’t know what the future would bring so this modification recognized TVA’s intent to retire the plant by Dec. 1, 2023,” Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Water-Quality Stems Unit Manager Vojin Janjic said.
Many at the meeting were worried about more pollutants getting into the waters near Bull Run when the time comes to close the plant.
“I’ve seen that they’re going to filter for a particular matter but haven’t seen anything on what they’re going to do with what’s dissolved in the water coming off that and going into the Clinch River,” Jay Insell said.
“I don’t want to see anything decrease,” Anderson County Councilman Tracy Wandell said. “I want to make sure that safety standards are in place and I think they are. I think TDEC does a good job, just want to make sure I don’t miss nothing.”
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, TVA is responsible for any kind of discharge that comes from Bull Run. Those with TDEC say their evidence shows the water near the plant is safe.
“Our permits protect water quality,” Janjic said. “We’re not allowed by law to issue permits that would cause conditions of pollution, so this permit is no different and it is protecting designated uses of Clinch River.”
While TVA looks to close the plant by the end of the year, it will be several more months before the new NPDES permit is awarded to TVA.
“The other phases of dismantling and reconstructing, I think that’s going to be well into the five, seven, 10-year range. And then we also have the burden or the issue of the new road coming in front there with Edgemoor Road so all that’s going to be kind of tying in together,” Wandell said.