NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After weeks of seeing a mysterious dust in the air around the Bull Run Fossil Plant, the Tennessee Valley Authority identified the particles as soil on Thursday.
Residents in the Claxton community have been wanting an explanation for the mysterious substance for more than a month. TVA said it sent samples to an independent laboratory for analysis in September.
“All results indicated the vast majority of the material was soil,” Kim Schofinski, deputy communications director with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said in a news release.
“As it relates to coal ash, sampling results ranged from nondetectable amounts, amounts too low to quantify, or trace amounts.”
The release said TDEC reviewed its own samples as well as those from TVA and citizens.
TVA said it collected 11 samples and received three samples from a homeowner for testing by an independent laboratory.
“Results show the material is not coming from air emissions at Bull Run and is consistent with surface soil in the area,” spokesman Scott Brooks said.
“TDEC also sampled material at several locations, and their results affirm that the material is consistent with surface soil.
“We are committed to being a good neighbor. The safety of our employees and our friends and neighbors in the local community is always our priority.”
The state Department of Environment and Conservation said it is in the process of contacting homeowners who asked for the study to be done and sharing the results.
TVA voted in February to close the coal-fired electric plant in 2023.
The announcement was met with opposition from state Lt. Gov. Randy McNally. McNally, who represents the Anderson County district where the plant is, said it would cost 100 people their jobs and make energy production more expensive.