Coal Waste Contaminates Water in 21 States

Sunday, August 29, 2010

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers whether to impose new federal regulations on coal ash, a new report shows the waste is a bigger problem than previously reported.

The study, produced by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, found there are 39 sites in 21 states where groundwater supplies or surface water have become contaminated by the dumping of coal ash from utility companies. This is in addition to 31 coal waste dumpsites that were identified in a February report. The contamination includes the presence of toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, selenium, cadmium and other pollutants in water supplies used by local residents.
The United States uses one billion tons of coal a year to produce about 48% of the nation’s electricity. This production also creates 125 million tons of coal waste, including ash.
The EPA will conduct seven hearings around the country before deciding to bring the disposal of coal ash under federal control. Currently, states are left to decide how to regulate the leftovers produced by coal-fired power plants, and the electric power industry wants to keep it that way.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Study of Coal Ash Sites Finds Extensive Water Contamination (by Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers)
In Harm’s Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and Their Environment (Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and Sierra Club) (pdf)


Phil Ott 11 years ago
Surprise! Look who performed the study. Toxic metals are allways present in groundwater! They occur naturally. What was present before? Oh another inconvenient reality! beautiful COAL natural energy from the sun, 100% ORGANIC!!!!
Glen Brewster 11 years ago
In addition to contaminating water, toxic coal wastes, without any testing or regulation, are being sold to be: - cosmetics and toothpaste - dumped in rivers - spread on agricultural fields, and - added into carpet backing and countertops. See the growing list of how Americans are being exposed to hazardous coal waste: Take action: Stop Toxic Coal Contamination Learn more:

Leave a comment