RALEIGH, NC — “Unfortunately, we may be saving our skies at the expense of our water.
Earlier this month, my research team at Duke University published a peer-reviewed study that found high levels of arsenic, selenium and other toxic contaminants in coal ash residues and wastewater discharges generated by coal-fired plants. We found that these contaminants are getting into the water and sediments of lakes and rivers located downstream from coal ash ponds across North Carolina.
It turns out the EPA-required air pollution scrubbers and other contaminant-trapping technologies used at many power plants, such as fabric-filter baghouses, are keeping many toxic contaminants out of our air, which is good. But the contaminants don’t just disappear. They remain, trapped but largely untreated, in concentrated solid form as coal ash or in liquid form as scrubber wastewater and ash-transport slurries. And they’re accumulating in the lakes and rivers into which the plants directly discharge these wastes.”
— Avner Vengosh, Op-Ed, The News Observer