19 New Coal Ash Water Contamination Sites Found Across U.S.

The Environmental Integrity Project released results of water testing last week indicating that coal ash from power plants in 10 states had contaminated nearly 20 sites previously overlooked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EIP joined calls by the Sierra Club and Earthjustice right here on Care2, among others, for EPA to enact strict regulations of coal ash disposal.

Take Action! No More Spills: EPA Must Regulate Toxic Coal Ash

EIP Finds Widespread Water Contamination from Coal Ash

In the last 10 years, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) has found groundwater contamination from 90 coal ash ponds or landfills around the United States. “The more we look, the more we find,” the group writes.

In their latest report, EIP identified the following new contamination sites:

  • Illinois (7): Dallman Power Station, Joliet Station, Joppa Plant, Meredosia Power Station, Pearl Station, Powerton Station, and Waukegan Station;
  • South Carolina (3): Cross Station, McMeekin Station, and Winyah Station;
  • Iowa (2): Fair Station and Prairie Creek Generating Station;
  • Texas (2): Coleto Creek Station and W.A. Parish Station;
  • Florida (1): Plant Crist;
  • Georgia (1): Plant Yates;
  • Indiana (1):  soil at an urban rail trail in Bloomington;
  • Kentucky (1): Paradise Fossil Plant;
  • Nevada (1):  North Valmy Station; and
  • Tennessee: (1) Allen Fossil Plant.

Coal Ash: A Clear and Present Danger

Coal ash is what’s left over after coal is burned in a power plant or the dust that gets caught in the pollution control equipment (also known as fly ash). While the coal and power industries claim ash is benign, it can contain dozens of hazardous heavy metals, including arsenic, lead and mercury, as well as carcinogens such as dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds.

Coal ash is often stored at or near power plants in sludge ponds, one of which famously collapsed in 2008, burying 400 acres of Tennessee homes, farmland and the Emory River under up to a billion gallons of ash slurry 6 feet deep in places. More recently, a bluff in Wisconsin containing coal ash landfill collapsed into Lake Michigan.

The EIP report highlights that it doesn’t take an event like a landslide or sludge-pond dam collapse to contaminate nearby water supplies. “We already have here a clear and present danger to America’s public health,” said EIP’s Coal Combustion Waste Initiative Director Jeff Stant.

Congress Threatens to Block EPA Coal Ash Regulations

Just weeks before the Wisconsin spill, the U.S. House of Representatives had passed a bill that, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, would block EPA’s authority to regulate coal ash completely.

“The EPA has been trying to enact national protections to stop this kind of disastrous spill from happening again, ever since the TVA disaster in 2008, and our Congress has been blocking them every step of the way. As a result, communities across the nation remain at risk and unprotected,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in a statement about the Lake Michigan ash spill.

“[I]t is no solution for Congress to hand authority for addressing the problem permanently to states that have refused to enforce common-sense standards for the past 30 years and hope that the whole problem then somehow goes away,” said Stant.

Take Action! No More Spills: EPA Must Regulate Toxic Coal Ash

Related Reading

Powerplant Mudslide Dumps Coal Ash into Lake Michigan

Mercury Polluters May Be Allowed To Carry On Without Consequence

Coal Plant Spills 500 Million Gallons of Sludge in Tennessee, We Need Renewable Energy Now!


Photo from Thinkstock.com


Winn Adams
Winn A7 years ago

Stop this madness and don't vote for Republicans.

Patrick F.
Patrick f7 years ago

If the GOP is successful in eliminating the EPA, that number will be times a thousand.No morals, no ethics, just more money and greed.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons7 years ago

Do a search coal ash lake Michigan. A bluff collapsed and spilled into lake michigan a bunch of toxic coal ash from the 1950's

Debra Van Way
Debra Van Way7 years ago

I vote every politician not willing to clean up this mess have to drink the polluted water themselves on a regular basis. What is good for the masses should be just as good for the politicians against cleaning it up. I think they need to go breath in some heavy duty coal dust. Suck up gas fumes and guzzle fracking ruined water as well. They are no better than the rest of us and worse than most.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams7 years ago

We spend enough on our military, we should be able to declare war on hazardous wastes and have the US Navy clean up hazardous waste to keep in practice for cleaning up hazardous waste leftover from wars when we are between wars or at least have some extra military capacity beyond what we really need for any current war. Why are we bullying OPEC anyhow--why not buy the fossil fuel firms some sustainable energy production equipment for Christmas--Merry Christmas Koch borthers.

Shirley Townsend
Shirley T7 years ago

There is probably a contaminated site at every coal burning facility in the US nevertheless mining area. Clean coal is an oxymoron. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists 3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary human cause of global warming--as much carbon dioxide as cutting down 161 million trees. The list is long for water 225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion. The water table and wells in areas where coal is mined are almost always contaminated.

David Anderson
David Anderson7 years ago

Jane B.
3:37pm PST on Dec 18, 2011
Maybe we should all pray in a circle with Rick Perry.

You are going to pray to a God in whom you do not believe?

Lynn C.
Past Member 7 years ago

I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear there are even more than this.

Gloria Morotti
Gloria Morotti7 years ago

Petition signed. When will they ever learn......

Carol P.
Carol P7 years ago

Another reason to invest in green technology. We can demand cleaner alternatives. We just need everyone to start doing so. Vote with your purchasing dollars. If there are ways to get green energy for your home, make the investment! Write your utility companies. Vote for politicians who espouse environmentally-friendly agendas and are willing to fund portions of the government such as the EPA so that regulations are enforced.