Mar 28, 2018

Groundwater Contamination Found Near Indiana Coal Ash Pits

The recent data collected by the Indian EPA shows elevated arsenic, radium, lead and boron

Groundwater contamination in Indiana

Recent reports collected by the Indiana EPA revealed arsenic, radium, lead and boron groundwater contamination in wells tested near the state’s coal ash pits. At one site, the Indianapolis Power and Light Harding Street station, arsenic was found at 445 ppb, more than 45 times the maximum level of 10 ppb. Other sites found lead nearly three times the standard and radium contamination up to eight times. With roughly 85 coal ash pits, Indiana has more pits than any other state and a combined total of more than 60 million cu yards of coal ash stored, according to The Indianapolis Star.

Representatives from the utilities say the next step is more extensive groundwater testing to determine if action is required. They stress that the samples were from sites next to the pits and do not affect municipal water systems. Regardless, environmentalists are pushing for closure of the coal ash pits by drying up the coal ash and storing it in a secure, lined dumpsite as opposed to simply capping the pits, which would still enable the contaminants to leach into the surrounding groundwater.

“It’s incredibly important because this data allows us to hold utilities accountable for poisoning our groundwater in Indiana,” Wendy Bredhold of the Sierra Club said regarding the new data. “Once all these contaminants are in the groundwater all over the state as they are, then they start moving into our rivers.”

Similar results have been found across the country with Duke Energy facing penalties for coal ash related groundwater contamination in North Carolina and Dominion Energy challenging a judge’s ruling over arsenic contamination in Virginia.