America’s Worst Unknown Environmental Disaster

Three days before Christmas, a barrier broke and toxic sludge spilled across 300 acres in Roane County, Tennessee.  Now much of this land is under six feet of sludge. This Tennessee coal plant created, for the United States, the largest environmental disaster.

A forty-acre pond containing toxic coal ash has collapsed, spilling out millions of gallons of coal ash. Environmentalists say the spill is more than thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez, but the story has received little national attention.

2.6 million cubic yards of coal ash spilled out of the retention pond, burying homes and roads.  The sludge has flowed into the Emory River, a tributary of the Tennessee River, which provides drinking water to millions of people downstream in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.

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