TVA trial continues in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash manager has told a judge the utility hoped to blame a disastrous 2008 spill on circumstances outside its control.

In a recorded deposition played Wednesday at TVA's ash spill trial, Melissa Hedgecoth said TVA's claim that slime in an ash storage pond at the Kingston power plant caused a dike to break was a "little bit bogus."

She became a TVA whistleblower and has filed a federal workplace retaliation complaint since having disagreements with other managers.

Hedgecoth said when TVA hired a consultant to identify the cause, "they were hoping they could find something outside of TVA's control."

The first witness called by TVA attorneys, Thomas Settles, testified that as ash hauling foreman at Kingston he made inspections four times a week.

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