Turner to D.C. to testify about Perry County landfill

Published 11:11 pm Monday, December 7, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment has invited Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner to testify Wednesday in a hearing about last year’s coal ash spill in Kingston, Tenn.

Turner is expected to testify about the waste disposal site in his county that is receiving 3 million cubic yards of reclaimed coal ash from the TVA facility.

The ash, which contains some heavy metals, is the result of a spill last December at the Kingston Fossil Plant, a coal-fire Power Plant near Harriman, Tenn., owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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A retaining wall failed at a coal ash retention pond at the plant, releasing 5.4 million cubic yards of ash and 327 million gallons of water onto land around and near the plant.

Turner could not be reached for comment Monday.

Just as Turner is to talk about the safety of the Arrowhead Landfill, where the Environmental Protection Agency decided to transport the ash, a group of Uniontown residents are asking the EPA to reconsider its decision. The group is represented by David A Ludder, a Florida attorney specializing in environmental law. Ludder has also filed notice the residents of Uniontown he represents will sue Perry County Associates, who own the landfill, for violations of the Clear Air Act and the Solid Waste Disposal Act.

Ludder says his clients — about 15 of them — have suffered various maladies because of the odors coming from the landfill. Those odors are indications the landfill is operating outside its licensed parameters, the attorney says.

The attorney also wrote a letter to the owners of the landfill, saying his clients were ready to file lawsuits against them.

“Suit may be avoided if these violations have been permanently abated before the expiration of 60 days following the service of this notice,” Ludder wrote in the notice.

Congressman Artur Davis, whose 7th Congressional District covers the area, cannot testify at the hearing because he is not a member of the committee.

However, Davis will release a statement before the hearing about the issue, according to his office in Washington.