"The Tennessee Valley Authority's efforts to clean tons of toxic coal ash are set to cause a 'major toxic event' that could kill entire fish species and send a human health threat slinking up the food chain, according to scientists.
... The ash clogged a section of the Emory River's navigation canal, forming an underwater 'dam' that state and federal officials say could soon cause a flood of toxic backwater. On March 20, in a race to beat spring rains, the TVA--a federally owned utility company--began sucking out the toxic-sludge dam with huge hydraulic machines, putting it on land to dry out and be hauled away by trucks.
A handful of scientists are saying that the river-clearing operation will unleash a deadly pulse of selenium, an element found in coal ash that's good for humans in small doses but toxic to people, fish and wildlife at high levels. Water-treatment plants can filter selenium out of drinking water, but humans may still ingest harmful doses by eating contaminated fish and wildlife."
EPA announced May 11, 2009, that it was taking over the cleanup from TVA.