Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Study: Coal Ash Water-Contamination Much Worse Than Previously Estimated, With 39 Additional Toxic Sites Identified in 21 States

August 26, 2010 - Days before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) kicks off a series of regional hearings across the United States on whether and how to regulate toxic coal ash waste from coal-fired power plants, a major new study identifies 39 additional coal ash dump sites in 21 states that are contaminating drinking water or surface water with arsenic and other heavy metals. The report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Earthjustice and the Sierra Club documents the fact that state governments are not adequately monitoring the coal combustion waste (CCW) disposal sites and that the USEPA needs to enact strong new regulations to protect the public.

The new EIP/Earthjustice/Sierra Club report shows that, at every one of the coal ash dump sites equipped with groundwater monitoring wells, concentrations of heavy metals such as arsenic or lead exceed federal health-based standards for drinking water, with concentrations at Hatfield's Ferry site in Pennsylvania reaching as high as 341 times the federal standard for arsenic. (See study highlights below.) The new report is available online at

A February 2010 EIP/Earthjustice report documented 31 coal ash dump sites in 14 states. The 39 additional sites in today's report along with the 67 already identified by the USEPA bring the total number of known toxic contamination sites from coal ash pollution to 137 in 34 states. Together, the independent reports and USEPA's own findings make clear the growing number of waters known to be poisoned by poor management of the toxic ash left over after coal is burned for electricity.

The 21 states containing the 39 damage sites identified in the new report are: Arkansas (2 sites, Independence and Flint Creek); Connecticut (1 site, Montville); Florida (1 site, McIntosh); Illinois (3 sites, Joliet 9, Venice, and Marion); Iowa (3 sites, Lansing, Neal North, and Neal South); Kentucky (3 sites, Spurlock, Mill Creek, and TVA Shawnee); Louisiana (3 sites, Dolet Hills, Big Cajun, and Rodemacher); Michigan (1 site, Whiting); Nebraska (1 site, Sheldon); New York (1 site, Cayuga); North Carolina (1 site, Dan River); North Dakota (2 sites, Leland Olds, and Antelope Valley); Ohio (4 sites, Uniontown aka Industrial Excess Landfill, Cardinal, Gavin, and Muskingum); Oklahoma (1 site, Northeastern); Oregon (1 site, Boardman); Pennsylvania (2 sites, Hatfield's Ferry and Bruce Mansfield aka Little Blue); South Dakota (1 site, Big Stone); Tennessee (3 sites, TVA Johnsonville, TVA Cumberland, and TVA Gallatin); Texas (1 site, LCRA Fayette Power Project); Virginia (2 sites, Glen Lyn and Clinch River); and Wisconsin (2 sites, Oak Creek aka Caledonia and Columbia).


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