There was a huge and terrible environmental disaster in Tennessee Monday

The Tennessee Valley Authority, better known as TVA, has a coal-burning power plant located near Harriman, Tennessee, along Interstate 40 between Knoxville and Nashville. The stuff that is left over after TVA burns their coal is called coal ash.

Coal ash contains mercury and dangerous heavy metals like lead and arsenic - materials found naturally in coal are concentrated in the ash.

TVA has a huge mountain of this coal waste material stored in a gigantic pile next to their Harriman (Kingston) power plant, alongside a tributary of the Tennessee River.

On Monday morning Dec. 22 around 1:00 am, the earthen retaining wall around this mountain of coal ash failed and approximately 500 million gallons of nasty black coal ash flowed into tributaries of the Tennessee River - the water supply for Chattanooga TN and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

This Tennessee TVA spill is over 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, if local news accounts are correct.

*** This is a huge environmental disaster of epic proportions.

To see an amazing aerial video of the spill - the big hunks and chunks in the river are mounds of coal ash:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGmVCABMRRQ
There is better aerial footage but you have to watch an Applebees commercial first - go to the link below, then scroll down to the "Most Popular" section and find the button that says "aerial footage"

www.wbir.com/video/default.aspx?aid=74330

The local media are downplaying the spill, but the Nashville newspaper (The Tennessean) has a decent article, posted below.

.....

POSSIBLY 500 MILLION GALLONS -

www.tennessean.com/article/20081223/GREEN02/812230370/1001/RSS6001

Here's a link to some information about the Tennessee coal ash flood, including reports of a fish kill.
http://blogs.roanoke.com/rtblogs/newrivernotebook/2008/12/23/coal-ash-tsunami-in-tennessee/