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"THE MEETING"

TVA Coal Ash Spill
Well, the meeting place was set at the community center in Kingston at 4:30pm.  It did not take long to fill the space to capacity, so the meeting was moved across the street to Roane County High School.  I want to thank the school for allowing that transition.

Since the meeting was actually a Kingston City Council meeting, it started off with introductions.  Howie Rose the head of Emergency Management was there along with Tom Kilgore the President & CEO of TVA (which surprised me, as I thought he would avoid this type of meeting).

Once introductions were complete, there was information shared by Howie and then Mr. Kilgore.  The floor then opened up for questions, and since the meeting was Kingston City, residents of Kingston were given the first opportunity to speak.  Questions related to Kingston residents were focused on property values first (remember they were not directly hit), water sampling and contamination to the river.  Also TVA was asked what was it going to invest in Kingston to offset their decrease in property values.

Tom Kilgore stated that the 1st priority is to those directly impacted by the "spill".

Will the cost of the cleanup be spread to the consumers?  Kilgore stated TVA had insurance... 

Once those from Kingston were given the opportunity to speak, the floor opened up to others.  Questions became more focused on:

Water testing;  testing started quickly, and continues every 2 hours.  Other testing independently being done by EPA and others.  

Air quality testing; only done at the TVA Plant.  Will begin placing testing equipment in other areas soon... (no clear date/time set, and as I posted before they have not done any Air Quality Testing in locations where there is Ash debris.

Were there emergency plans in place:  not for something of this magnitude of ash.

What is in the ash?  Mr. Kilgore will have to research and post the results on TVA's website. (yet they sell this ash.. but don't know what's in it?)

What is the dangers of ash?  Mr. Kilgore stated they have employees that work in it everyday.. but didn't say that those individuals wore protective gear.  

A family that was directly impacted by loss of pasture lands spoke about the loss other their lively-hood and that they had not heard anything from TVA.  Mr. Kilgore said they would help, buy hay, etc., and to contact TVA.

What are the dangers of the water for my dogs one resident asked.... after alot of avoiding the direct questions, the resident finally asked bluntly if he should keep his dogs away from the water... the answer was yes. 

A family with an expectant mom who is 7 months pregnant asked if it was safe for her to be there... as they have the spill literally in their backyard... again.... no definitive answer.  Come by the office if you have questions was often the answer given.

A family that had their home on the market for sale stated that they could no longer sell the property, as the backyard was full of ash debris... would TVA purchase his property... as market value BEFORE the spill... the answer again was come by the
office and we will see what we can work out. 

There were several statements regarding TVA buying the property outright or relocating families until cleanup was complete (those that were directly hit or affected... and he stated there were about 43)

There were two families present that could not get into thier homes, and they both stated that TVA had not offered to house them, relocate them, or assist them.  They had spoken to a TVA rep on day 2, and that the was last contact they had.

There are still alot of unaswered questions. 

I have to tell you that MANY environmental agencies were there.  Some were rather polite and informative, while others were loud, used obscenities (I had my 18 month old with me) and asked for Mr. Kilgore's resignation (they don't live in the area... )

Also present were Newspaper reporters (hey Knox News Sentinal!), local Television and I also seen CNN there.

I will post more on this meeting as soon as I can...I'm sure I'll remember more... but for now I here the baby calling... it's bottle & bedtime.

9:35pm - More info on the "Meeting" & Questions for TVA/Mr. Kilgore:

Questions:

A resident who's property was on the lake asked:  What will TVA do in our area where our houses once had backyard on a river inlet... and now there is no water, just muck?  Mr. Kilgore stated that TVA was putting "booms" in place across the area, and the ash would have to be removed then vacuumed.  Mr. Kilgore stated that he did not know what the inlet would look like, or how wide it would be.  TVA wants to clean the area and make it a place to be proud of. 

Tom Kilgore:  "It will be bad for awhile".  TVA wants to do everying to prevent the ash from becoming airborne.

Is there a plan in Kingston if the water treatment plant becomes contaminated?  Yes, water can come from City of Rockwood/Watt's Bar.

What is the failure analysis?  This is not as important as the cleanup at this point.  There was no warning, as large pieces went all at once. 

There were issues with this ash pond in 2003 & 2006, and more than just "wet spots", why wasn't there warnings given to the community?  (I didn't hear all the answer, but I think it was that these were not significant)

Does TVA have the financial resources available to compensate residents?  Yes, TVA have insurance.

Are my children safe???????

Mr. Kilgore repeatedly stated that people should "come see" him with their concerns.

Ash has been collecting in that pond for over 30 years, during transitions of different types of coal that was burned... How can you guarantee what's in there and if it's safe?  Mr. Kilgore stated he would have to look up the data over the 30 year period. (I was puzzled at this, because as I stated earlier, TVA sells ash and must know what is in it)

A resident stated that a TVA rep advised her that the cleanup will be in "full swing" soon which will include 24/7 work in the cleanup area, bright lights and a lot of noise.  What type of quality of life is that for residents who live close by? 

Many enviromental watchdog agencies were there.  They provided information on fly ash, much like the research I began doing and found an excellent post here on livejournal.  Some had MSDS for fly ash, along with reports of possible chemical contaminants that could be present in the ash.

One warned:  

Stay out of the water.   

Stay off of the ash. 

Wash your hands and face often and especially before & after you eat.  

Change your furnace filter, use HEPA and change once a week.  (I already did... first thing after the disaster).

Leave all shoes, boots & exposed clothing outside

Wash pets' feet before they enter your home

Never sweep fly ash

Don't let children play outside near fly ash

Keep all windows and doors closed as much as possible.

Don't dry dust your home, use a damp cloth

Never leave food uncovered

Use vaccum cleaners that have HEPA filters

Other info related to Fly Ash (Coal Ash)
Effects of overexposure: 
Acute: Irritation of eyes, skin and mucous membranes
Chronic:  Fibrotic diseases of lungs and potential carcinogenity (cancer causer)

1st aid:  
Skin:  Wash with mild soap and water
Ingestion:  keep warm, drink large amounts of water and SEE A PHYSICIAN
Eyes:  Thoroughly flush with water, SEE PHYSICIAN
Inhalation:  Move to fresh air, CONSULT A PHYSICIAN

Medical Conditions Aggravated by Exposure:  Persons with the history of respiratory illness and reduced pulmonary function whould avoid work places with high dust levels (I think this would also mean any place that has high dust levels)

It also states that the needed protection is:
Single use mask
Work Gloves
Goggles for heavy dust
Coveralls for hich concentation conditions
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have very huge concerns related to this spill.   I have an 18 month old (I am his custodial grandmother) who is a high-risk infant, born prematurely and was on mechanical ventilation for 7 weeks at birth... already compromised and with many medical issues......

The pulmonologist stated to limit his time outside... and report back to the office the Air Quality results including the particulate counts.... Wait untill I tell him that TVA hasn't done any yet.....

I wonder what their liability is related to him....  




Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
labricoleuse
Dec. 29th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
Thanks for your reportage on the meeting--sounds like there are still a lot of questions to be answered, unfortunately.

Regarding your concerns for your grandson's health and liability issues, i came across this link:

http://www.levinlaw.com/PracticeAreas/Tennessee-Coal-Ash-Spill.asp

Looks like that firm might be worth calling up with your questions. As i understand it, lawyers' fees on tort lawsuits of this sort are paid as part of the judgment, not by the victims, so you wouldn't have to worry about whether you could afford legal counsel.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )