Nonprofit group identifies 20 sites contaminated with arsenic, other toxic metal pollutants
Nonprofit group Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) revealed in a new report that a total of 20 additional coal ash dump sites are found to be causing groundwater and soil contamination across 10 states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. EIP also announced it released a letter to Congress from thousands of residents near coal ash dump sites in 27 states, pleading for proper federal oversight.
Since 2010, EIP has identified 90 coal ash ponds and landfills with groundwater contamination that it says have been overlooked in reports prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nearly all (19 out of 20) of the newly identified problem sites have groundwater contaminated with arsenic or other toxic metals exceeding at least one Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), as well as other health-based standards. An additional site in Indiana was found to have contaminated soil along a rail trail with arsenic 900 times the federal screening levels.
In addition, all 19 sites with water contamination had measured concentrations of other toxic pollutants above limits recommended by EPA in health advisories for children or adults. The report also provides important new information about seven previously recognized coal ash dump sites, including data documenting concentrations of arsenic in groundwater that are more toxic than hazardous waste at sites in South Carolina.
“Virtually every coal ash site that has adequate monitoring reveals substantive contamination of the underlying groundwater … Furthermore, in several cases, the data show the contamination is worsening the longer it continues,” said J. Russell Boulding, hydrogeologist with Boulding Soil-Water Consulting.
Full texts of the EIP report and the citizens' joint letter to Congress are available online at www.environmentalintegrity.org.