By JONATHAN MATTISE, Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) - Environmental groups are taking the Tennessee Valley Authority to trial over whether coal ash from its coal-fired power plant near Nashville, Tennessee, polluted the Cumberland River in violation of the Clean Water Act.

In the bench trial starting Monday in Nashville federal court, the Tennessee Clean Water Network and Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association target the TVA's storage of coal ash, waste from burning coal for energy.

The environmental groups say coal ash storage ponds at Gallatin Fossil Plant, northeast of Nashville, have been illegally seeping toxic pollutants for years into the groundwater and the nearby Cumberland River.

They say state regulators haven't properly addressed the problem.

The TVA, a federal utility serving customers in seven Southern states, says it has followed state and federal permits. It says decades of data show no impact on drinking water sources.

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