Monday, December 29, 2008

Dec 28, 2008 United Mtn Defense Saturates Kingston Public Meeting TVA Coal Ash Disaster

Dear folks,
Dec 28,2008
(Please repost to all online news sites and blogs)

Volunteers for United Mountain Defense handed out flyers announcing the Public Meeting that was scheduled to happen in Kingston, TN at 4:30pm. We also distributed copies of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) dealing with different grades of coal ash. The information contained on these Safety sheets suggests that as this coal ash dries out and becomes more airborne that everyone should wear single or double filter respirators. Also each house should have a HEPA filter and change the filter once a week. United Mountain Defense volunteers were reporting having soar throats at the end of the day today after being in the disaster zone all day. We will be purchasing respirators for our ground crews. It will be an interesting day as we deliver MSDS information to local residents while wearing lung protection. United Mountain Defense volunteers continued to deliver clean bottled water to residents on Swan Pond Rd.

Many residents originally stated that they either didn't know about the public meeting or weren't planning on attending until United Mountain Defense volunteers delivered an announcement flyer.

United Mountain Defense volunteers arrived an hour before the meeting in an effort to set out free informational materials dealing with the coal ash. The meeting got so large that we had to move across the street to the high school gym. Once inside United Mountain Defense volunteers set up a slide projector which continuously scrolled more than 120 photos taken by the Hurricane Creek River Keeper John L. Wathen taken from the Emory River where the coal ash spill was migrating into the river. We also saturated the audience with free safety information.
The meeting was called by the city of Kingston and many of the directly impacted residents live in Harriman. Once we arrived at the meeting we were informed that Kingston residents would take priority over other speakers. Of course the most directly impacted residents of Harriman felt their concerns were taking a back burner. United Mountain Defense had cameras rolling and recorded the entire meeting. There were many concerned residents with some very fiery speeches.

Here is what TVA said they would do for impacted residents

TVA promised to pay for testing of anyone’s well water in the area of the coal ash disaster.

TVA promised to hold one or more public meetings about a new coal ash waste gypsum storage facility that is being built very near the disaster site.

TVA agreed to have an independent design assessment team look over the designs of this new waste storage area.

TVA agreed to independent surveys of all of their ash ponds.

TVA promised to install sprinklers at anyone’s property to help keep the coming ash dust down around impacted residents homes.

TVA promised to install fencing along water ways and the sludge disaster area to keep children and pets out of the area.

After the meeting there was an informal question session and I had the chance to ask about the two unsafe levels of contaminants found in drinking water according to TDEC sampling. I asked this question to a Kingston City Council member and to Tom Kilgore TVA’s CEO. Kilgore looked as white as a sheet after having to dish out the company line for more than 3 hours and wasn’t in any state to answer my question. I decided to call TDEC for more info today. I have a call back pending.

Thanks for your work and time. We are very busy here in the ground. United Mountain Defense is a 501c3 non profit. We need funds for copies, bottled water, gas, and to help charge up the cell phone.

If you are a resident impacted by TVA's Coal Ash Disaster contact 865 689 2778 or 865 257 4029

If you can make a donation go our website at

or send a check to United Mountain Defense P.O. Box 20363 Knoxville, TN 37920

Thank you for your time. Till then , Matt Landon full time volunteer staff person for United Mountain Defense

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Y'all may already know all about this, so ignore it if so, but just in case i will comment anyhow. Since you are buying respirators now, i am guessing maybe your volunteers aren't already trained with them.

UNC-CH (my employer) has put their respirator training seminar online at:

...and the good news is, ANYONE can go through the training screens and essentially "take the seminar"! You aren't asked for a UNC ID# until the very end of the training, for the portion where you take the actual test to be certified for respirator fit-testing and use in campus facilities. So, your volunteers could go through the seminar portion at least and get training if not "certified".

The information in the training series is dense at times and full of terms that may be unfamiliar--googling jargon and acronyms can help though.

The UNC respirator training program is a general-purpose training series that covers all of the areas of employment at UNC-CH where respirators might be used, including science labs, research facilities, and social service jobs like firefighting. Some of the sections won't apply at all, but much of it is good to know anyhow.

Some things to pay attention to:

* Filter changing: It's preferable to throw out the cartridge BEFORE it's exhausted. The training session talks about how to determine this sort of thing, but my general rule of thumb is, i use the cartridge for 8 hours of exposure, then i chuck it. They just don't cost that much, whereas, say, cancer treatment totally would. Also make sure you have the correct filters for the job, which this page may help with:

* Medical profiling section--it's a strain on your heart and lungs to wear a respirator so make sure you CAN. Several conditions are listed in the training as possible exemptions from respirator use. It's best to ask your doctor if you have any respiratory or circulatory ailments. The training doesn't mention this, but i tell my students that even if you are healthy and approved for respirator use, you should never use one for more than an hour without a "lung break"--ten minutes out of the respirator for every hour spent working in one. In a contaminated atmosphere like the spill, you may not be able to do breaks that regularly. Tell your folks to be prepared to be unusually exhausted and dehydrated by heavy respirator use, and plan/schedule accordingly so no one gets hurt.

* How to properly put on, take off, and care for a respirator! Many people don't know the procedure for correctly donning and doffing a respirator. This section illustrates it.

* Description of what a fit-test is like--it's described, in case you have ever wondered. You might be able to get the safety folks at UTK to fit-test your volunteers, but there are other "unofficial" quick tests discussed as well.

(Disclaimer: not a doctor or anyone "official," just a concerned citizen who works with respirators.)

Good luck to you folks, and thanks for all you are doing!