TVA Ash Spill Lawsuit Filed by Tennessee Developer

A developer has filed a $17 million lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for damages to the value of a housing development caused by a coal fly ash spill late last year.

The TVA ash spill lawsuit was filed on August 18, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville by Walt Dickson and New Homes Construction Co.

The complaint alleges that property values at Lakefront Estates Development in Rhea County were negatively affected by the spill, which dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of coal fly ash into the area, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. The development, which is downstream from the spill, has allegedly seen a spike in toxins in the water, such as arsenic, lead and thallium, reducing the value of the community and recreation on Watts Bar Lake, where the development sits.

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The TVA fly ash spill occurred as a result of a breached dam on a waste-storage pond at the TVA maintained Kingston Fossil Coal power plant, causing 1.1 billion gallons of toxic coal fly ash sludge to spill onto the surrounding land near Knoxville in East Tennessee.

Coal ash waste contains radioactive materials as well as arsenic, lead, thallium, and other heavy metals, which can cause birth defects and damage reproductive and nervous systems, as well as other health problems.

Over 300 acres of surrounding land were impacted when the TVA coal ash spill released the toxic sludge into the Tennessee, Emory and Clinch rivers. TVA already faces a number of lawsuits representing hundreds of residents affected by the spill.

In late July, the TVA Office of the Inspector General released an investigative report on the incident that called the spill an avoidable accident if TVA had taken corrective actions before hand.

“TVA was aware of ‘red flags’ that were raised over a long period of time signaling the need for safety modifications to TVA ash ponds,” the report states. “These ‘red flags’ were raised by both TVA employees and by consultants hired by TVA. For reasons that are still not entirely clear, appropriate safety modifications were not made.”

The Lakefront Estates development is about 25 miles downstream from where the spill occurred. The developers say the decrease in property value and the negative effect on water recreation caused by the spill has cost them the sale of several lots. The development relied heavily on water recreation as a selling point, which has been damaged by the TVA spill, the lawsuit claims.

2 Comments

  • ToddDecember 27, 2018 at 12:11 am

    I drove a dump truck at Kingston ash spill for Rogers group there for 6 months

  • MickiApril 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Would like to know if I have a legit case.

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