Coal / Coal Ash

Coal ash is contaminating groundwater in at least 22 states, utility reports show

So far, utilities have acknowledged the presence of enough health-harming contaminants like arsenic to trigger cleanup rules at 70 coal-fired power plant sites

WASHINGTON, DC — “This new national picture of coal ash contamination has emerged in part because the environmental groups Earthjustice and Environmental Integrity Project, with others, have combed through utility websites, collecting information from documents that utilities began publishing last year. The groups have issued several reports in recent weeks with similar conclusions.

For example, in Illinois, they found evidence of toxic pollutants such as arsenic, cobalt and lithium in groundwater at 22 of 24 coal ash dump sites. In Georgia, similar contamination was reported at 11 of the state’s 12 coal-fired power plants. A report released Thursday reveals evidence of contaminants leaching from all 16 coal-fired power plants with ash ponds or landfills in Texas.

Utilities listing the heavy metals and other contaminants detected during groundwater monitoring is just the first step; fewer have taken the next step of further assessing the sites and acknowledging those that exceed federal standards that will require them to come up with a cleanup plan.

Kathy Little, who fought a utility over blowing coal ash and ash pond safety at a now-closed power plant near her home in Louisville, Kentucky, said she is encouraged to see utilities finally owning up to their pollution.”

— James Bruggers, Inside Climate News

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