Saturday, December 27, 2008

Field report TVA ash disaster Dave Cooper Dec 27 2008

Greetings from Harriman TN, site of the spill

I brought 2 conductuvity meters for water testing down to the spill scene yesterday - along with Ph and dissolved oxygen testing equipment - I met up with United Mountain Defense members plus John Wathen of Riverkeepers (former chair of Citizens Coal Council)

We tried to drive back to the spill site but TVA became irate when we pulled off the road and tried to take some pictures - Matt and I were detained for almost an hour at a check point yesterday - TVA personnel appear to be under great strain, which is understandable but IMO they over-reacted. All we were doing was taking photos. This is a similar situation to what happened in Martin County - they block the roads for "public safety." Even the media is having trouble getting access now.

TVA completely underestimated the size of the spill, they are now saying 5.3 million cubic yards, thats 200 gallons per cubic yard so this is over 1 billion gallons in size. Apparently the stuff was stacked over 50 feet high - as high as a 5 story building.

If a dump truck can hold 10 cubic yards, it will take 500,000 trips to haul away all the ash (they are taking it back to the power plant). If they make one trip every 5 minutes, it will thus take 2.5 million minutes to clean up the spill - there are 525,000 minutes in a year so that means it would take 4.7 years to clean up the spill at these estimated rates.

Heres a great aerial video of the spill, best I have seen:

I have been working with National Public Radio, CNN, ABC World News Tonight and NY Times - there is a flotilla of water testers going out today on kayaks.

Please have news media call Chris in Knoxville at 865 257 4029 - we are at 317 435 0088

Dave Cooper

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