Take this how you will--with a grain of salt or a sprig of toxic waste--but TVA contracted with a lab to test contaminant levels in the Tennessee River, downstream from the Widows Creek Fossil Plant in northern Alabama where 10,000 gallons of waste slipped through a ruptured pond early Friday. The results indicate levels were raised, but still within federal guidelines for drinking water. TVA has said the Alabama spill was comprised of gypsum, a compound used to make things like drywall.
Bearing in mind this is TVA information, I think it's worth noting reports concerning the content of the Widows Creek fly ash. It's not clear at this point that anything other than gypsum was released. But according to TVA's own numbers, obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project, there's more arsenic, lead, chromium stored at the the Widows Creek plant. It also has something the Kingston plant in Tennessee doesn't: thallium, a highly toxic metal once widely used in rat and ant poison. It's jokingly referred to as "Inheritance Powder." Let's hope none of this crap made it out along with the gypsum.
Friday's spill in Alabama was the second spill in less than a month at one of TVA coal-fired steam plants. The spill at the Kingston plant in East Tennessee sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge into the Emory River and a nearby creek.