The water portion of the department’s water sampling plan consists of 4 parts: public water supply monitoring, well monitoring, surface water monitoring and fish tissue sampling.
TDEC is working in conjunction with several water utilities in the area, including Kingston and Rockwood, to support sampling and water testing at their intakes to verify it continues to meet water quality standards.
The department continues to sample private drinking water wells within a four-mile radius of the site for heavy metals. Results for 22 wells came back and all were within safe drinking water standards. Anyone in a four-mile radius of the plant who would like their well tested may call the Department of Environment and Conservation’s Knoxville Field Office at 865-594-6035 or toll free at 888-891-8332.
TDEC is monitoring the Emory River embayment of Watts Bar Reservoir on a regular twice per week basis. Monitoring will be more frequent when significant rainfall causes increased flows in the Emory River and/or ash dredging begins.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) began collecting bass and catfish during the week of January 5 and will compare fish tissue results to existing data for those species. TWRA expects to resample on a semiannual basis, probably January and October, and will evaluate findings with the other resource agencies. TDEC will issue advisories if fish tissue contaminant levels exceed protection criteria.
The department has collected soil and ash samples, which are being analyzed at the state laboratory. Both soil and ash samples are being analyzed for total metals, TCLP metals (which helps to determine how likely metals are to leach from the material), radioactivity and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. Soil and ash samples were collected from residential locations, from the landfill itself and near Roane County Park, away from the spill to determine background levels present in unaffected soils for comparison purposes.
TDEC is coordinating data review of air quality monitoring done by TVA and EPA around the spill site. The department has established a continuous air monitoring station North-Northeast of the coal ash slide site with support and assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for particulate matter and metals analysis. The department is continually evaluating the monitoring results to determine whether additional monitoring locations, types of monitors and/or monitoring frequency should be utilized. The department also operates a particulate pollution (PM2.5) monitor approximately 2.5 miles away from the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant.