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Emory River to Reopen as Recreational Advisory is Lifted for TVA Kingston Site

Release Date: 05/21/2010
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(ATLANTA – May 21, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) plan to lift the recreational advisory for and reopen the Emory River on Saturday, May 29, 2010, at 7:00 a.m. The main river channel will be accessible to the public, but caution is advised. A no-wake zone has been established from Emory River mile 1.5 to mile 3 because large equipment remains in the area as TVA and EPA continue recovery of the Kingston ash spill.

For safety, work zones will be marked and boomed off, and will only partially obstruct the main channel. The public will not be allowed in work zones. EPA, in consultation with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Tennessee Department of Health, has determined that any coal ash remaining in the river presents minimal health risks to recreational users.

Casual contact with ash in the river should not cause skin irritation, although long-term contact could result in some irritation from sand-like particles in the ash. River users are therefore advised to wash after exiting the river, especially in areas where ash is clearly visible.

Individuals requiring further information or instructions regarding recreational use of Watts Bar Reservoir should contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, Stephanie Y. Brown at 1-800-564-7577 or 865-717-1635.

For more information about EPA’s oversight and response activities at the Kingston site, visit: and