MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) initiated an extensive investigation into contaminated water near its Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) found high levels of arsenic, lead, and fluoride in the groundwater.
MLGW, TDEC, and local health officials have all tested Memphis drinking water. They determined the contaminated groundwater is not getting into Memphis drinking water.
Aquifer water below the contaminated groundwater near the plant is used to cool generating equipment at the plant.
TVA said Allen Fossil Plant is retiring the coal-fired generators and replacing them with natural gas, which will reduce emissions and improve TVA's electric system.
TVA will stop the use the Allen natural gas plant cooling water wells until the investigation into the contaminated groundwater can prove that operating the plant is safe. The wells will periodically run, but only for testing purposes.
"We're also installing another 24 monitoring wells around those wells that exist at varying depth from 20 feet to 160 feet in the ground to try to get a better understanding of what's going on there and gather more data," TVA spokesman Scott Brooks said.
TVA is also joining forces with The University of Memphis and the U.S. Geological Survey Agency for help.
"They're going to do some underground mapping for us to try to pinpoint how the water is flowing over there and get a better understanding of what's going on over there," Brooks said.
TVA is installing permanent monitoring systems that will keep close eye on the groundwater.