“I don’t like to be handled,” Delano Williams, of Kingston, told his city’s leaders and Tennessee Valley Authority officials present at a emergency council meeting there. “I want to know what the bean-counters say is an acceptable loss of life (from long-term health impacts). “I know time is expiring on my life, but I don’t want to gamble on my children’s or grandchildren’s lives.”Also, residents at a separate community meeting confronted the TVA CEO and the Harriman Mayor:
Another Kingston man, Jim Winters, chastised the mayor for drinking water on camera and assuring residents it is safe after reports of water samples showing high arsenic and lead levels in raw river water.
“Residents want to know the truth — the short-term truth and the long-term truth,” Mr. Winters said.
About 75 to 100 people in the room applauded.
John Hoag, of Harriman, took Mr. Kilgore to task for being too concerned about money to take the safest possible fix years ago for previous dam leaks on the earthen landfill berm that gave way just before Christmas. The collapse dumped 1.1 billion gallons of wet fly ash sludge from 50 years of waste on more than 300 acres around the Kingston plant.
Mr. Kilgore told him he had seen nothing in those previous problems that made him think spending $25 million to line the landfill — one of the options TVA considered — was the right option.
“I did not find anything I thought was not an abnormal tradeoff,” Mr. Kilgore said.
“What you call ‘not an abnormal tradeoff’ we call a disaster,” Mr. Hoag shot back ....
Harriman Mayor Chris Mason told the group at the church that cooperation with TVA is important because “when this is all over it will be us and TVA still standing.”
Harriman resident Randy Ellis countered: “And every one of us will remember who caused this.”