Gypsum Removal from Widows Creek
Jackson County, Alabama
On July 7, 2009, TVA issued a finding of no significant impact and final environmental assessment for the Gypsum Removal Project from Widows Creek at TVA’s Widows Creek Fossil Plant (WCF). Both documents are presented below.
During a routine inspection at TVA’s WCF on Friday, January 9, 2009, workers discovered that water and gypsum from a gypsum pond had bypassed the existing system and drained into an adjacent settling pond, filling the latter to capacity and causing it to overflow into Widows Creek. Emergency clean-up actions were initiated immediately and continued under the Incident Command System (ICS) from January 9 through March 26, 2009. The activities under the ICS consisted primarily of the removal of gypsum from the banks along Widows Creek, the affected settling pond, and affected outfall canals. The Phase I removal of gypsum from a limited portion of the creek adjacent to the affected settling pond was conducted under Categorical Exclusion 5.2.1 in TVA’s procedures for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act because the circumstances were considered a time-critical emergency action. Phase I was conducted from April 18 through June 19, 2009.
Phase II will incorporate hydraulic methods such as pumps and small dredges (with and without cutter heads) to remove gypsum from the channel of the affected section of Widows Creek. Best management practices (BMPs) will be utilized to minimize impacts to water quality. The BMPs will include a turbidity curtain placed downstream of the Phase II removal area, as well as limiting the rate of removal as necessary.
For further information or a copy of the documents, contact:
Tennessee Valley Authority
Office of Environment & Research
P.O. Box 1010
Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662-1010