The Sierra Club is appealing two permits issued from the Shelby County Health Department to the Tennessee Valley Authority that will allow them to drill into crystalline sand aquifers in order to syphon cooling water for a power plant currently under construction in Southwest Memphis.
TVA has filed five permits for five wells, three of which are no longer eligible for appeal. According to Tennessee chapter coordinator Scott Banbury, the power plant will need a minimum of four functional wells to draw in 3.5 million gallons daily of would-be Memphis drinking water. Should the last two permits be denied, TVA may be forced to explore alternative options.
In a letter to the Shelby County Groundwater Quality Control Board, the Sierra Club cited the board's own regulations that they feel the potential wells will violate, particularly section 11 of the Rules and Regulations of Wells in Shelby County which reads, "Water pumped by private and/or quasi-public water supplies for residential, commercial and industrial purposes shall be limited to reasonable use."
It's now up to the health department to evaluate whether or not 3.5 million gallons of drinking
water a day is a "reasonable use".