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EPA Study Finds Dangers in Coal Ash Ponds Nationwide

By Stacy Morford

Sep 1, 2009

Storing coal ash dry may be more expensive upfront for power producers than using wet slurry ponds, but look at the cost of those slurry ponds failing: Cleaning up the TVA Kingston plant spill and paying for the damage could run . Meanwhile, the TVA estimates that to shift all six of its wet fly ash handling systems to dry, plus eliminate the web bottom-ash systems at all 11 plant, would cost half that over 10 years.

In 2000, the EPA looked at the possibility of regulating the 100 million tons of toxic coal ash disposed of ponds and landfills each year. It pointed to several problems to consider, including that “coal combustion wastes could pose risks to human health and the environment if not properly managed,” but it declined to regulate.

Now, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said her agency plans to propose for the disposal of coal ash this year. Earthjustice would like to see wet ash storage eliminated.

“We’re telling EPA, look at the science now and how the states have continued to keep these broad gaps open and have not be regulating coal ash effectively. Look at the fact that EPA lowered the arsenic standard in drinking water,” Evans said.

“This is doable this year. It was doable 15 years ago. We can protect people from coal ash.”

The EPA's survey found wet storage used in 35 states, primarily across the Midwest, Appalachia, the Southeast and Intermountain West, but the public information about coal ash disposal isn't complete. Duke Energy, Alabama Power, Georgia Power and Progress Energy declined to release information about 74 impoundments claiming “confidential business information."


See also:

EPA Releases Secret List of 44 High-Risk Coal Ash Ponds

TVA's Inspector Says It Misled Public About Ash Spill

A Tale of Two Disasters: Coal Ash and Tar Sands Tailings

Canoeing Through the "Clean" Coal Ash Spill

Obama's Pick for Federal Mining Regulator Draws Fire of Coal Field Residents

(Photos: December 2008 Kingston coal ash spill/TVA)

Attachment Size
Coal Ash Survey Results.pdf 199.33 KB

Dangers of As, Hg & Pb or Arsenic, Mercury & Lead, not known?

You must have really read a lot into that. Every bit of info on the EPA website is public info. Don't give the Obama admin credit for making this issue public. And as for the public not knowing these elements are dangerous, you obviously have not spent much time looking them up on any health site. Everyone knows arsenic is a deadly poison and that lead & mercury kill brain cells. Lead is so dangerous that Ducks Unlimited lobbied to get it taken out of gun-shot. Mercury is not sold over the counter except in thermometers & thermostats. And arsenic is verry difficult to purchase and you'd better have a very good reason.

Are your lights on? Is your air conditioner on? Are your tv & radio on? Then you're contributing to the coal ash problem since 90% of the US electricity comes from coal fired power plants. But the majority of our electricity is used in the manufacturing processes so every time you just have to have that latest gadget or gizmo, you're contributing to global pollution. Stop the insatiability and the pollution will subside. Then we can work on cleaning it up.

Just another environmental scientist

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