Monday afternoon, a TVA Spokesman said they were not aware of any fish kills and were working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to examine and mitigate any environmental damage that it may have caused.
When asked specifically about the hundreds to thousands of dead fish found near the steam plant in the Clinch River, TVA Spokesman Gil Francis said the sudden dip in temperatures could have played a role.
"I think it's too early to talk about toxins. We are doing an analysis but you have to remember you introduced a lot of ash material that in itself could cause problems with fish perhaps. But at this point we need to do an analysis," Francis said on 10 News at Five Monday.
Why is TVA compelled to make stuff up and expect people to believe it? I know I'm just one of those internet know-it-all blowhards, but it's times like this that make me yell at my TV. It's starting to sound like Baghdad Bob. "Dead fish? There are no dead fish!"
UPDATE: A similar spill occurred further up the Clinch River in 1967 when a fly ash containment pond failed at an Appalachian Power Company coal-fired power plant near Carbo, VA. The event released approx. 130 million gallons of fly ash sludge into Dump's Creek which flows into the Clinch River approx. 1/2 mile downstream:
For four and one-half days following the spill, the alkaline slug traveled downstream at the rate of approximately 1.39 km/h, killing essentially all fish in its path. During this period, 162,000 sport and rough fish were killed in the 106 km of the Clinch River in Virginia, and an additional 54,600 sport and rough fish were killed in 38.6 km in Tennessee, USA, until the polluted mass was diluted, dispersed, and neutralized in the river by natural physical-chemical processes.
Effects on aquatic life were observed as far as 77 miles downstream. (Source)
It sounds as though the Carbo event discharged almost directly into the river, whereas the Kingston Steam Plant event was more widespread over land and only some of the toxic sludge has reached the Emory and Clinch Rivers so far. We probably won't know for several days, though, the extent of the damage to aquatic life.
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