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Kingston Ash Slide

Air Quality Information

Air Sample Testing Update
Through March 31, 2011
Air Samples Analyzed
Number of Times The EPA 24 Hour Standard Has Been Exceeded


Immediately following the Kingston ash spill, TVA recognized the potential for spilled ash to become airborne. By December 29, TVA had implemented an aggressive dust suppression and control program that included using road vacuums and water trucks to suppress dust generation by vehicle traffic, wetting ash areas with truck-mounted water cannons, applying Flexterra for cover, and establishing vegetative cover for longer-term dust management. 

TVA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of the public and its employees. As part of that commitment, TVA has been contracting with a third party to  test the air around the Kingston Fossil Plant since shortly after the ash spill, and monitoring will continue through the completion of the cleanup. This comprehensive monitoring program has provided the Tennessee Department of Health with data to make the finding that “The particulate matter and metals measured in air near the site are below national and state standards or are less than any levels of concern. There is no indication of health concerns for area residents or workers."

EPA reviewed the air quality monitoring conducted by TDEC and TVA on July 2, 2009, and “confirmed TDEC's belief that there is no known threat to public health from an air pollution exposure associated with the clean-up of the ash spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant. Air monitoring at the Kingston ash spill site continues to confirm that the national ambient air quality standards for inhalable particulate (PM10) and respirable particulate (PM2.5) are being met. These federal standards define how pure our air should be and are set to protect public health and public welfare with an adequate margin of safety. In addition to particulate monitoring, TDEC consulted with EPA and developed a list of metals of interest for sampling that are found in the ash. Although there are no formal national ambient air quality standards for these most of these metals, the amounts measured in air sampling has not shown any concentrations of concern.” 

TVA’s air monitoring contractor began reporting data on December 29 from the use of Industrial Hygiene-type monitors. Monitoring techniques and equipment were rapidly transitioned so that the current core monitoring program is based on fixed monitoring locations and measurement techniques that are recognized by EPA for comparison to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

A discussion of early monitoring activities during the emergency response phase of the project and how the results guided the structure of the current program is available here.

A description of the current monitoring program and results of more recent analyses is available here.

The behavior of the spilled ash is strongly affected by weather conditions.  TVA has installed two research grade meteorological towers in the Kingston area to provide data for analyses of weather related events that could potentially impact air and water quality.  The weather data can be found on the meteorological information page.

Early Monitoring Activities

Current Monitoring



“The particulate matter and metals measured in air near the site are below national and state standards or are less than any levels of concern.” 

Tennessee Department of Health

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