Coal, New Projects, Policy & Regulations

TVA: Coal Combustion Residuals More Safely Stored in Place

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has announced plans to permanently store coal combustion residuals (CCR) on TVA property at 10 locations across its service area.

The decision follows a year-long review and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) concerning the potential environmental impacts of TVA’s storage plans, which also addressed comments from open houses and other forms of public input.

The EIS considered two options for CCR storage: closure-in-place and closure-by-removal. Ultimately TVA opted for closure-in-place.

“Based on our analyses and decades of available monitoring data, we believe that TVA’s CCR management activities are not harming human health or the environment,” said John McCormick, TVA vice president of Safety, River Management and Environment. “We also found that digging up the coal ash and moving it someplace else has more potential environmental and safety impacts than closure-in-place and adds significantly more time and costs for our ratepayers,” he added.            

Closing CCR impoundments in place involves removing moisture from the material, then adding a liner system or cap to prevent leaching and entry of rainwater.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that TVA’s responses to its comments on the draft EIS were acceptable and did not identify any deficiencies in the information provided. The plan also received no objections from federal, state, or local agencies regarding in-place closure.

The plan supports TVA’s stated goal of eliminating all wet CCR storage at its coal plants and will meet the federal CCR Rule. The impoundments at each fossil site will continue to be monitored for at least 30 years.