Lasting Impact of the Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Ash Spill

Polluted landscape after the Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill

The Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill happened over a decade ago, in December of 2008. But the spill’s severe and lasting impact is still affecting residents of the surrounding areas today. It was the biggest coal ash spill in history in the United States, marking a monumental environmental disaster that resulted in a lake being contaminated with gallons of toxic sludge. Many surrounding towns used the lake for water, and the spill also caused damages to dozens of homes.

A New Lawsuit

Only last year, Roane County, Tennessee, and two neighboring cities filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Jacobs Engineering, its main contractor. The lawsuit was filed for hiding dangerous facts regarding the major coal ash spill’s cleanup. Jacobs Engineering and Tennessee Valley Authority are accused of covering up major health risks and other issues caused by the spill.

Hiding the Spill’s Threat

Lawsuits filed against Jacobs Engineering and TVA accuse them of taking numerous actions to hide the real threat and impact of the spill from the public. These actions included:

  • Destroying evidence, including exposure threat test samples, test results, and photographs; artificially lowering the results of monitors that were meant to warn about high exposure threat levels
  • Concealing records that listed coal ash ingredients including radioactive isotopes and dangerous toxins
  • Covering up the threat posed by fly ash, which contains class A carcinogenic substances
  • Lying to the public, ratepayers, and even TVA’s own board of directors about the coal’s level of toxicity from the time of the spill to present

Seeking Justice

TVA ratepayers have already paid in excess of $1.3 billion for the cleanup. Roane County’s lawsuit hopes to protect ratepayers from paying higher power rates, financially aid the over 400 residents who have fallen sick because of the spill, and seek justice for the over 40 disaster workers who were killed.

The Chief US District Judge placed an order for Jacobs Engineering to negotiate a settlement. Jacobs Engineering appealed the ruling, but the company’s appeal was rejected. Because the ruling passed, any worker who can prove that the negligence of Jacobs Engineering caused their illness will now be able to pursue damages against the company.

Lasting Impact

Many residents remain unconvinced that they are truly safe from the impact of the spill, which is estimated to be more than 40 times larger in volume than the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. The spill in Kingston was also 70% larger than a similar spill that occurred in Kentucky in 2000, which was at that time deemed “one of the worst environmental disasters in the Southeastern United States” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Considering the massive scale of the incident, the negligence and malpractice that went into the coverup of the spill’s threat, and the residents it has adversely affected and continues to affect, the persisting impact of the Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill is unsurprising. It has caused serious health issues, death, and a lack of trust and feeling of safety throughout the community. It’s important to team up with an environmental law attorney if you believe you have been unduly affected by this coal ash spill.

Get the Help You Need

At Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, our attorneys are teaming up with local legal representation to make sure victims in Roane County get the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been affected by the Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill, contact us today to request a free case evaluation to receive help from one of our experienced New York personal injury lawyers.