High levels of arsenic and lead found under Memphis coal plant

High levels of arsenic and lead found under Memphis coal plant

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has found high levels of both arsenic and lead in groundwater under their Allen Fossil Plant.

The TVA reported the contamination to the Tennessee Department of Environment (TDEC) and Conservation in May. Right now, both groups say their goal is to identify the source of the contamination.

The arsenic levels were found to be as much as 300 times the federal drinking water limit. Lead levels were found to be four times above the federal limit.

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The state monitoring agency, TDEC, is requiring, "TVA to install additional groundwater monitoring wells," according to a recently published document.

TDEC is also appointing the Division of Remediation (DoR) to oversee the investigation into the 'source' and 'extent' of groundwater contamination.

Memphis Light Gas and Water (MLGW) is also involved. According to TDEC, MLGW has, "agreed to sample the ground water from the water wells entering the water treatment plant for metals such as arsenic and lead. MLGW will also sample to treated water distributed to customers."

MLGW released the following statement:

The TVA Allen Fossil plant is in Southwest Memphis near McKellar Lake. It currently operates three coal-fired units that it is planning to replace with natural gas next year.