Colbert Steam Plant demolition will take 4 years

TVA is spending $30 million to tear down the plant.

Posted: Nov 21, 2019 3:58 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2019 8:32 PM

The Tennessee Valley Authority will be tearing down the Colbert Steam Plant and using the land for economic development.

The old fossil fuel plant is off of Highway 72 in Colbert County near Tuscumbia. It was shut down a few years ago because TVA wanted to move toward more renewable energy sources.

"I watched them build the steam plant from start to finish," said Lewis Garner, who has grown up by the steam plant his whole life. "I even watched them build the smoke stacks."

The plant was built in 1955. It was shutdown in 2016. Right now crews are removing asbestos from inside the buildings. The asbestos will be sealed, stored, and taken to an approved landfill. It's costing TVA $30 million to tear down the plant.

"All of this material we can will be recycled so local recycles and local help as much as possible," said Scott Fielder, a spokesman for TVA.

It will take about 90 crew members to demolish the site over the next 4 years. Once all the buildings are torn down TVA plans on using the 1300 acres for economic development.

"What that redevelopment is I don't know yet. We're so close to the starting point of this process I just don't have the ability to look out that far and see what's going to happen with it," said Fielder.

The 500ft smoke stacks can still be seen at the plant. Garner said he's a little sad to see memories of his childhood go but said it's for the betterment of the community.

"Times have changed and we have to think about the environment and our health issues and if fossil fuel is contributing to the problem were having then we have to find something else so it has to go," said Garner.

Removing the asbestos will take 18 months after that actual demolition will start. TVA said in the last seven years they've closed five fossil fuel plants to lessen their carbon footprint.

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