Little public comment on state's health assessment

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By The Staff



An official with the Tennessee Department of Health said public comment on its health assessment of the TVA ash spill has been lackluster.

“We haven’t received a lot of calls or e-mails or any comments at all,” Communications Director Andrea Turner said.

The department released the health assessment on the spill in December. It is accepting comments on the assessment through Feb. 9.  

“We absolutely want to hear from the community and get feedback and input on this assessment, but so far it’s been practically nonexistent,” Turner said.

The spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant released 5.4 million cubic yards of fly ash into the environment. The ash contains contains constituents such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium and zinc, which are hazardous substances.

Some people have criticized the health department over the assessment because it basically says the spill does not pose a serious health risk to the public.

“They still have the opportunity to offer us comment and feedback,” Turner said of the critics who disagree with the assessment.   

State health officials were available to answer questions about the health assessment during an informational meeting with other agencies at Roane County High School on Tuesday.

The assessment is available online at http://health.state.tn.us/coalashspill.htm.

Comments can be e-mailed to EEP.Health@tn.gov

Comments also can be mailed to the following address:

Environmental Epidemiology Program

Tennessee Department of Health

1st Floor, Cordell Hull Building

425 Fifth Ave. North

Nashville, TN 37243