Public Will Get Update on Aquifer Situation

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The public will get an update on the contamination found close to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) wells drilled into the city’s drinking water later this month in a newly scheduled meeting.

The TVA drilled five wells into the Memphis Sand Aquifer, the source of the city’s drinking water, with permission granted last year by the Shelby County Groundwater Control Board (SCGCB). TVA wants to pump about 3.5 million gallons of water per day from those wells to cool a new energy plant. TVA recently discovered high levels of arsenic and lead in groundwater about a quarter mile from those wells.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) pumps drinking water at a well about three miles from the contaminated TVA site. But the utility said recent tests found no detectable traces of the toxins in the water.

However, in a July 20 letter, Tennessee state Sen. Lee Harris asked the chairman of the groundwater board to suspend TVA’s well permits and asked for a further, third-party investigation into the matter.

Also, Harris asked chairman David McCray for a meeting to update the public on the matter. Harris also asked that the public be able to give the board feedback on the project.

“We need to ensure the public that the water they consume and use for daily life is clean and safe and that our precious aquifer is protected,” Harris wrote.

The meeting is so far scheduled for Thursday, August 24 at 3 p.m. In Room C of the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.


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