For members: More than 4,000 fish, crayfish killed by Y-12 chlorinated water, mercury

Upper East Fork Poplar Creek is pictured above at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge on Friday, May 22, 2020. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

More than 4,000 fish and crayfish were killed by chlorinated water and mercury at the Y-12 National Security Complex in two series of incidents in 2018 and 2021.

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Upper East Fork Poplar Creek is pictured above at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge on Friday, May 22, 2020. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

More than 4,000 fish and crayfish were killed by chlorinated water and mercury at the Y-12 National Security Complex in two series of incidents in 2018 and 2021.

The rest of this story, which you will read only on Oak Ridge Today, is available if you are a member: a subscriber, advertiser, or contributor to Oak Ridge Today.

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Oak Ridge Today
P.O. Box 6064
Oak Ridge, TN 37831

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Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today. We appreciate your support!

Upper East Fork Poplar Creek is pictured above at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge on Friday, May 22, 2020. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

More than 4,000 fish and crayfish were killed by chlorinated water and mercury at the Y-12 National Security Complex in two series of incidents in 2018 and 2021. 

The first series of incidents was likely caused by the release of mercury while crews were cleaning up and removing equipment at the Alpha-4 Building on the west side of Y-12, according to scientists and officials. Alpha-4 is the most contaminated of the four major mercury-contaminated buildings at Y-12. Millions of pounds of mercury were used at Y-12 decades ago to produce nuclear weapons parts. Removing mercury-contaminated buildings, equipment, and soil remains one of the top challenges of cleaning up the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Upper East Fork Poplar Creek is pictured above at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge on Friday, May 22, 2020. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

More than 4,000 fish and crayfish were killed by chlorinated water and mercury at the Y-12 National Security Complex in two series of incidents in 2018 and 2021.

The rest of this story, which you will read only on Oak Ridge Today, is available if you are a member: a subscriber, advertiser, or contributor to Oak Ridge Today.

Already a member? Great! Thank you! Sign in here.

Not a member? No problem! Subscribe here:

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Oak Ridge Today
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Oak Ridge, TN 37831

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For members: Millions of gallons in sewer system overflows reported in four-year period

An Oak Ridge wastewater overflow tank is pictured above on Emory Valley Road on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 3:20 p.m. June 6.

Millions of gallons in sewer system overflows were reported to the state by the City of Oak Ridge between 2012 and 2017, and most of the largest overflows—500,000 gallons or more—were reported in the summer of 2013, according to a federal lawsuit that could be settled soon.

The lawsuit by Tennessee Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization based in Alabama, was filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville in 2018. It alleged that the city had reported about 40 million gallons of sewer system overflows in a four-year period near local waters and that the city had violated the Clean Water Act. The city denied the claim. The lawsuit had sought to force the city to make repairs to keep pollutants out of creeks and rivers, and to charge the city $37,500 per violation per day. It also asked the city to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and expert fees. Riverkeeper said the discharges have affected how often its members use the Tennessee River and its tributaries for recreation. The discharges continued through at least early 2017, with more overflows reported later, according to the lawsuit and legal documents filed in the case.

Now, the lawsuit could be settled if the court approves and Oak Ridge makes at least $4 million in repairs by 2025 and pays more than $100,000 in attorneys’ fees. The settlement agreement was approved by City Council in May. A notice about the agreement was filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Thursday.

The largest overflows, by volume, were reported about two years before the city completed millions of dollars worth of repairs to its aging sewer system and built three large wastewater holding tanks after an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010. The EPA order had required the city to bring itself into compliance with its discharge permit. However, the overflows continued even after the city said it had satisfied the conditions of the EPA order, according to the lawsuit, although the overflows appeared to be at a lower volume than in the summer of 2013.

Legal arguments in the case have included debate over whether Tennessee Riverkeeper has standing—someone who had been injured by the sewer system overflows—and whether the discharges have continued.

The rest of this story, which you will read only on Oak Ridge Today, is available if you are a member: a subscriber, advertiser, or contributor to Oak Ridge Today.

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Oak Ridge, TN 37831

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An Oak Ridge wastewater overflow tank is pictured above on Emory Valley Road on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

Note: This story was last updated at 3:20 p.m. June 6.

Millions of gallons in sewer system overflows were reported to the state by the City of Oak Ridge between 2012 and 2017, and most of the largest overflows—500,000 gallons or more each—were reported in the summer of 2013, according to a federal lawsuit that could be settled soon.

An Oak Ridge wastewater overflow tank is pictured above on Emory Valley Road on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 3:20 p.m. June 6.

Millions of gallons in sewer system overflows were reported to the state by the City of Oak Ridge between 2012 and 2017, and most of the largest overflows—500,000 gallons or more—were reported in the summer of 2013, according to a federal lawsuit that could be settled soon.

The lawsuit by Tennessee Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization based in Alabama, was filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville in 2018. It alleged that the city had reported about 40 million gallons of sewer system overflows in a four-year period near local waters and that the city had violated the Clean Water Act. The city denied the claim. The lawsuit had sought to force the city to make repairs to keep pollutants out of creeks and rivers, and to charge the city $37,500 per violation per day. It also asked the city to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and expert fees. Riverkeeper said the discharges have affected how often its members use the Tennessee River and its tributaries for recreation. The discharges continued through at least early 2017, with more overflows reported later, according to the lawsuit and legal documents filed in the case.

Now, the lawsuit could be settled if the court approves and Oak Ridge makes at least $4 million in repairs by 2025 and pays more than $100,000 in attorneys’ fees. The settlement agreement was approved by City Council in May. A notice about the agreement was filed in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Thursday.

The largest overflows, by volume, were reported about two years before the city completed millions of dollars worth of repairs to its aging sewer system and built three large wastewater holding tanks after an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010. The EPA order had required the city to bring itself into compliance with its discharge permit. However, the overflows continued even after the city said it had satisfied the conditions of the EPA order, according to the lawsuit, although the overflows appeared to be at a lower volume than in the summer of 2013.

Legal arguments in the case have included debate over whether Tennessee Riverkeeper has standing—someone who had been injured by the sewer system overflows—and whether the discharges have continued.

The rest of this story, which you will read only on Oak Ridge Today, is available if you are a member: a subscriber, advertiser, or contributor to Oak Ridge Today.

Already a member? Great! Thank you! Sign in here.

Not a member? No problem! Subscribe here:

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Temporary

If you prefer to send a check, you may do so by mailing one to:

Oak Ridge Today
P.O. Box 6064
Oak Ridge, TN 37831

We also have advanced subscription options. You can see them here.

We also accept donations. You can donate here. A donation of $50 or more will make you eligible for a subscription.

Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today. We appreciate your support!

AC Commission schedules public hearing on TVA request for landfill at Bull Run

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Bull Run Fossil Plant is pictured above in Claxton on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

The Anderson County Commission has scheduled a public hearing to discuss a request from the Tennessee Valley Authority to build a 60-acre landfill on the Bull Run Fossil Plant site in Claxton.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, in Room 312 of the Anderson County Courthouse at 100 North Main Street in Clinton.

The proposed new landfill is known Site J, and it has been characterized as a three-cell unit capable of holding eight to nine million cubic yards of coal combustion residuals, according to a public hearing notice.

[Read more…]

State announces $500,000 loan for OS water system repairs

Tennessee officials on Friday announced a $500,000 loan for water system repairs in Oliver Springs.

The loan was announced by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers. It’s a Clean Water State Revolving Fund, or SRF, planning and design loan. It’s meant to remediate water losses in the Oliver Springs water system in what is being described as a pilot project.

The loan consists of 100 percent principal forgiveness in the amount of $500,000 with a five-year term and a 0 percent interest rate, a press release said.

“We are pleased we can assist local communities with important infrastructure improvements,” Lee said in the press release. “This loan directly addresses a need and will improve quality of life.”

[Read more…]

TVA says Claxton material that caused concern is consistent with soil

Note: This story was last updated at 4:50 p.m.

The Tennessee Valley Authority said Thursday that the material that caused concern in Claxton, near the Bull Run Fossil Plant, is consistent with surface soil.

The material had reportedly fallen on vehicles, houses, mailboxes, and driveways in Claxton near Bull Run, a coal-fired TVA power plant. That raised concerns that the material might be coming from Bull Run.

On Thursday, TVA said it collected 11 samples and received three samples from a home owner and sent them to an independent laboratory for testing. That was in response to the concerns about the airborne materials found on vehicles and property around Bull Run, TVA said.

“Results show the material is not coming from air emissions at Bull Run and is consistent with surface soil in the area,” TVA said. “TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) also sampled material at several locations, and their results affirm that the material is consistent with surface soil.”

[Read more…]

TDEC: Most material tested in Claxton, after residents expressed concern, was soil

Note: This story was last updated at 4:50 p.m.

The vast majority of the material tested in Claxton, after residents raised concerns about an unidentified substance falling around the Bull Run Fossil Plant, was soil, a state official said Thursday.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said it sampled material in the area, and TDEC Deputy Communications Director Kim Schofinski released a short statement Thursday.

“TDEC takes the concerns of citizens very seriously, and in response to their direct requests, we independently conducted sampling of the material in the area,” the statement said. “We also reviewed lab results from samples taken by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and citizens…All results indicated the vast majority of the material was soil. As it relates to coal ash, sampling results ranged from non-detectable amounts, amounts too low to quantify, or trace amounts.

[Read more…]

Household hazardous waste collection is Saturday

Anderson County Solid Waste Management and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are sponsoring a household hazardous waste collection event on Saturday, September 14, in Oak Ridge.

The collection is scheduled between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Oak Ridge Central Services Complex at 100 Woodbury Lane, behind the Hobby Lobby shopping center. This is a state-sponsored household hazardous waste event, and it is open to all Tennessee residents, a press release said.

Household hazardous waste is anything generated in the household that has a hazardous property. Examples include household disinfectants, drain cleaners, adhesives, pesticides, old gasoline, and pool chemicals, the press release said. A material is considered hazardous if it is flammable, corrosive, toxic, or reactive with heat or contact with metals.

[Read more…]

Renovated Blankenship Field open for public use

Blankenship-Field-James-Mitchell-Aug-2019
The renovated Blankenship Field—the city’s football field—and its walking track are now open for public use. The main change is that the grass field has been replaced with synthetic turf, but there are other changes as well. The field is pictured above in August 2019. (Photo by James Mitchell via City of Oak Ridge)

The renovated Blankenship Field—the city’s football field—and its walking track are now open for public use.

The main change is that the grass field has been replaced with synthetic turf, but there are other changes as well, including to scoreboards and end zone areas.

The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department and Oak Ridge Schools announced the opening of the renovated field on Tuesday.

The field and track are accessible through a gate adjacent to the lower concession stand, a press release said. Like other public park facilities, public use is permitted from sunup to sundown, except when the field is reserved for special events, the press release said.

[Read more…]