Roane County Citizens Sue TVA for Coal Ash Spill

Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., together with Nashville, Tenn., counsel May and Ryan, PLC have filed an environmental lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on behalf of 109 citizens in Roane County and surrounding areas.

According to a Feb. 19 press release, the action was prompted by a dike breach at the TVA plant, which led to the spill of over a billion gallons of toxic coal fly ash waste. This compromised the health of nearby residents, swept homes off their foundations, and devastated a river-front area, making it dangerous to inhabit.

"The residents in these communities have suffered tremendously at the hands of this power plant, which has improperly housed this 40-acre holding pond of waste with wanton disregard for the health and welfare of its neighbors," said Robin Greenwald, head of the Environmental Toxic Torts unit at Weitz & Luxenberg.

The 11-count complaint (No. 3:09-cv-54) seeks compensatory damages for devalued property and loss of use and enjoyment of that property; increased risk of future health problems; emotional distress and mental anguish; and fear of cancer. The suit also seeks testing and monitoring of the contaminated areas, injunction preventing TVA from engaging in further acts of pollution, and ensuring it takes necessary measures to remedy the contamination.

The Dec. 22, 2008 spill of coal ash sludge released 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic waste into the Emory, Clinch, and Tennessee rivers, and covered more than 300 acres of land. The sludge contains radioactive substances and toxic pollutants, including arsenic, lead, and thallium.

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