Last December, the wall of a holding pond at Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee gave way, releasing some 5.4million cubic yards of toxic coal ash into the neighbouring river.

The dredging of the river and removal of the waste to landfill is now progressing well, according to plant owner the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

The massive clean-up project is far from complete, but seems to be ahead of early predictions.

TVA had estimated it would be shipping around 85 railway carriages full of waste to landfill every day, but that figure is now 110 carriages.

To date, 1.3million cubic yards of ash have been shipped from the site, around a quarter of what was spilled.

As well as the clean-up operation, the utility has also pledged $40million as part of an economic recovery package to help communities blighted by the spill to rebuild following the clean-up.

The TVA recently appointed one of the USA’s leading contaminated land specialists, Steve McCracken, to head up the remediation project.

Mr McCracken made his name at the Department of Energy, where he managed a series of extensive environmental recovery and remediation projects.

Sam Bond

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