田納西州爆發「煤灰土石流」 淹蓋土地高達400英畝 | 環境資訊中心

田納西州爆發「煤灰土石流」 淹蓋土地高達400英畝

2008年12月29日
摘譯自2008年12月23日ENS美國,田納西州,諾克斯維爾報導;范仕穎編譯;禾引審校

被煤灰所覆蓋之房舍。圖片提供:Tennessee Valley Authority。美國田納西河谷管理局(TVA)經營的的金士頓燃煤發電廠,22日早上擋土牆意外倒塌,造成260萬立方碼的土塵飛揚遠達數百英畝。

位於哈里曼(Harriman)的金士頓蒸氣發電廠,在諾克斯維爾以西50英哩愛莫里河和克里奇河的匯流點,是由美國最大公營事業公司擁有與經營。

這片濕灰泥淹蓋了6呎深,廣達400英畝,一間房子的地基被摧毀,另有11間住宅受損,民眾已緊急疏散,目前沒有傷亡的報告。

TVA預估清理工作約需要數個星期,並表示已在規劃長期的計畫,環保人士警告飛揚的塵土裡含有毒物,包含水銀、砷和鉛等,可能會滲入地下水和河川系統。

TVA對12月22日晚間無法回家的受災民眾提供了旅館、食物、交通和其他立即的需求,TVA表示該區有人居住的地區的供電、瓦斯和水已經被儲存。

穿過金士頓電廠的天鵝湖路仍然是封閉的狀態,但是對居住在該地區的居民開放,目前並沒有預估再度開放的時間。另外,TVA的警方也協助了受災區的治安維護。

金士頓是TVA比較大的石化燃料發電廠,一年發電量達100億千瓦小時,足以提供田納西河谷67萬戶的用電。

「這個災難顯示出根本沒有所謂的乾淨燃煤電廠這回事」南方環境法律中心的律師泰勒(Chandra Taylor)指出,為了發電,「四個山頂因為採礦而遭到移除,再加上煙囪排出的煤灰和佈滿有毒物質的煙霧,用煤發電的能源對環境是不好的,沒有人希望在聖誕襪裡找到煤,更不用說讓煤進入他們的家裡,污染他們的河流了。」

TVA表示將會持續對電廠下游的水源抽樣以評估對水質可能的影響,TVA也會持續地管理愛莫里河和克里奇河以減低灰燼往下游蔓延。

在TVA其他10個煤炭發電廠已經檢視了其灰燼防護牆的情形,所有的TVA的灰燼儲存區每年都會進行正式的檢查,而其他的檢測也是以每季和每天的頻率執行,這家政府公司表示。

「美國環保署應該要立即建立國家對於煤灰處理的機制和法規,」泰勒表示,「至少這個機制應該要包括設定限制、有結構性的規定以及長期的財務保障以清理任何造成的汙染。」

Tennessee Valley Coal Ash Spill Buries 400 Acres, Damages Homes
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, December 23, 2008 (ENS)

A retaining wall at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston coal-fired power plant collapsed early Monday morning, causing 2.6 million cubic yards of fly ash to be spilled across hundreds of acres.

The Kingston Steam Plant in Harriman, about 50 miles west of Knoxville, at the confluence of the Emory and Clinch Rivers is owned and operated by the nation's largest public utility.

The wet gray sludge buried about 400 acres six feet deep. One house was torn from its foundations, and 11 other homes were damaged and evacuated. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

TVA estimates that the cleanup could take weeks to complete and says long-term plans are being developed. Environmentalists warn that fly ash contains toxins - mercury, arsenic, and lead among others - that could seep into the ground and flow downriver.

TVA provided hotel rooms, meals, transportation and other immediate needs for affected residents who were not able to occupy their homes Monday night. Additional assistance is being provided by TVA as needed by affected residents. Electricity, gas and water have been restored to all homes in the area that are habitable, the TVA said.

The Swan Pond Road past the Kingston plant remains closed except for residents who live in the area whose homes are habitable. There is no estimated timeline for when the road will be reopened.

TVA Police are assisting local law enforcement with maintaining security for the homes in the affected area.

Kingston is one of TVA's larger fossil plants. It generates 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to supply the needs of about 670,000 homes in the Tennessee Valley.

"This holiday disaster shows that there really isn't such a thing as a clean coal plant," said Chandra Taylor, staff attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

"From mountaintop removal mining to smokestacks spewing soot and smog to ash ponds full of toxins, coal power is dirty - plain and simple. Nobody wants to find coal in their Christmas stocking, let alone coming through their home and polluting their river," she said.

TVA says sampling of water downstream of the plant will continue to assess the possible effects on water quality. TVA continues to manage river flows on the Clinch and Tennessee Rivers to minimize downstream movement of the ash.

Staff at TVA's other 10 coal-fired power plants have made visual inspections of the ash retention dikes to note any changes in conditions. The ash containment areas at all TVA's plants undergo a formal inspection annually and other inspections on a quarterly and daily basis, said the government company.

"The United States Environmental Protection Agency should immediately establish national safeguards for the disposal of coal wastes and enforceable regulations," said Taylor. "At a minimum, these safeguards should include siting restrictions, structural requirements and long-term financial assurance to clean up any resulting pollution."