EPA Finds Elevated Arsenic Levels in Water Near Coal Ash Spill

The Environmental Protection Agency has released data showing levels of arsenic more than 100 times safe levels in the water after a coal ash spill that flooded an East Tennessee neighborhood.

The EPA has said that sediment and water samples from near the spill were above federal maximum levels for contaminants. The data released Friday showed total arsenic levels in one water sample was 149 times the maximum level.

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Laura Niles, an EPA spokeswoman, says the municipal drinking water is still safe because these metals are filtered out during the water treatment process.

A retention pond burst at the Kingston Steam Plant on Dec. 22, spreading more than a billion gallons of fly ash mixed with water over roughly 300 acres of Roane County and into a river. The deluge destroyed three homes and damaged 42 parcels of land, but there were no serious injuries.