Last year's Kingston fly ash spill dumped more heavy metals into the Emory River than all the power plants discharged into all the nation's waters the year before, an environmental group said in a report issued Tuesday. The Environmental Integrity Project report states the spill - at 5.4 million cubic yards - released roughly 4 1/2 times more lead and 2 1/2 times more arsenic than the entire power industry released in 2007. The project based its conclusions on data that industry supplied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In all, the report states the Kingston spill discharged 2.66 million pounds worth of 10 heavy metals that are present in coal ash. In 2007, the power industry discharged 2.04 million pounds nationwide. Calling the spill "an ecological disaster," Environmental Integrity Project Director Eric Shaeffer said Tuesday the federal government should take action to regulate coal ash impoundments and ban wet storage facilities like the one that failed at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant. "We think the data makes a very strong case for the EPA to take action on coal ash ponds," Shaeffer said. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already has announced it would propose new standards this month for coal ash, possibly classifying it as hazardous waste. TVA officials say TVA's release of materials tracked by the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory account for less than 1 percent of all water discharges. According to a statement released by TVA spokesman John Moulton, TVA's releases have decreased 22 percent since 2005 if Kingston is taken out of the equation. Donna Lisenby of the advocacy groups Appalachian Voices and Watuaga Riverkeeper said the dredging of the ash, part of a cleanup that could cost as much as $1.2 billion, could free metals from the sludge and allow them to dissolve in the water. She said other methods, like building a coffer dam around the ash deposit, could be used to minimize risk. TVA's statement countered that the toxic metals remain bound in the ash and that dredging doesn't present a problem. "The (toxic) materials in the Emory River are therefore removed as ash recovery operations continue," the statement asserted. Shaeffer said his Washington, D.C.-based group would like to see TVA convert to dry ash storage. Moulton said TVA already has begun planning a dry storage facility at Kingston and is committed to fully convert to dry storage systemwide over the next 10 years.