TVA said document deadline not near

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By Damon Lawrence

TVA has a different take on the Administrative Order and Agreement on Consent it signed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Administrative Order was signed in May 2009, and TVA’s obligations under the order are to preserve documents relating to work performed under the Administrative Order for a 10 year period,” spokesman Scott Brooks said.

“That period would not expire before May 2019.”

The agreement includes a section on record retention, documentation and availability of information.

“TVA shall preserve all documents and information relating to the work performed under this order, or relating to the release of fly ash from the Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant, in accordance with federal law and TVA’s established documentation retention policies, but in no event shall such records be preserved for less than 10 years,” that section states.

“At the end of this document retention period, and 30 days before any document or information is destroyed, TVA shall notify EPA that such documents and information are available to EPA for inspection and, upon request, shall provide the originals or copies of such documents and information to EPA to the extent that they are not subject to any privilege.”

The document was signed by then TVA CEO Tom Kilgore on May 6, 2009.

Then EPA Acting Regional Administrator for Region 4 A. Stanley Meiburg signed it on May 11, 2009.

“TVA has not yet determined whether the ten-year period runs to May 2019 or beyond to some other date,” Brooks said.

The disaster that prompted the order happened Dec. 22, 2008 at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant.

An estimated 5.4 million cubic yards of fly ash was released following an early morning dike failure at the plant.

Roane County is considering taking legal action against TVA because of the spill. County Attorney Greg Leffew advised the County Commission to do so before Dec. 22 due to the document destruction provision in the order.

“If you decide to pursue a claim against TVA, it would be in your best interest to file it before Dec. 22, so you could get a court order preserving that information because otherwise under the current TVA EPA order they can start destroying things after that 10-year period is up,” Leffew told the Commission last month.

TVA’s position is the 10-year period doesn’t end this month, and goes through at least May of next year.