KNOXVILLEâ€”The Tennessee Valley Authority announced Friday that it will pay $27.8 million to settle dozens of lawsuits filed by hundreds of plaintiffsÂ afterÂ the largestÂ ash spill in U.S. history.
The 63 lawsuits that had been pending in U.S. District Court in Knoxville involved more than 850 plaintiffs. They hadÂ asserted claims against TVA arising from the 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The lawsuits will be dismissed, bringing the legal battle to an end after more than five years.
The settlement, known as a mediated global resolution, was outlined in documents submitted Friday to the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, a press release said. It comes after nearly two years of mediation ordered by U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan. The judge must still approve it.
The mediated global resolution has been approved by the TVA board of directors. TVA will pay the $27.8 million to the court clerk to be disbursed to the plaintiffsâ€™ attorneys as ordered by the court, the release said.
“Bringing this matter to a close is a significant milestone for all involved,” it said. “TVA remains committed to completing the Kingston recovery project and restoring the community to as good as or better than it was before the spill. The restoration project is scheduled to be completed in 2015.”
The ash spill was caused by a dike that failed on a storage cell on a cold December night more than four years ago. Roughly 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash surged out, covering about 300 acres of land and water near the Kingston Fossil Plant.
No one was injured, but 40 homes in the area were affected. The ash filled three embayments north of the coal-fired plant, covered Swan Pond Road, and flowed into the Emory River. Three homes became uninhabitable because of structural damage.