According to a report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP, www.environmentalintegrity.org), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA, www.tva.gov) facility responsible for last month’s coal ash spill in East Tennessee is one of nearly 100 U.S.-based “wet dump” sites that rank on the worst-site lists for six toxic chemicals, including arsenic and lead.

According to the EIP analysis, at least 20 coal pollution dump sites reported more arsenic in coal ash impoundments than the TVA site where the spill occurred. The TVA site was found by EIP to be on five of the six toxic chemical lists for the 50 worst coal-fired power plant pollution “wet dumps.” A total of five comparable disposal sites showed up on all six of the six worst-site lists for the toxic metals.

Using industry-reported data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, www.epa.gov) Toxic Reporting Inventory (TRI) data system for 2000-2006, EIP looked at the presence of arsenic, chromium, lead, nickel, selenium and thallium in the waste at Tennessee-style pollution dumping sites across the nation. The EIP analysis shows that a total of 13 states were found to have at least three coal-fired power plant “surface impoundment” dumping sites on the six 50-worst toxic chemical lists: Indiana, 11 dumps; Ohio, eight dumps; Kentucky, seven dumps; Alabama, seven dumps; Georgia, six dumps; North Carolina, six dumps; West Virginia, four dumps; Tennessee, four dumps; Illinois, three dumps; Michigan, three dumps; Pennsylvania, three dumps; Florida, three dumps; and Wyoming, three dumps.