Coal ash, the byproduct of burning coal from coal-fired power plants, comes in the form of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag and flue gas desulfurization material. Coal ash contains concentrated amounts of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic and selenium, all of which have devastating impacts to the environment and human health.
Coal ash ponds
In attempt to contain the material, the coal ash is frequently mixed with water to form a toxic slurry that is stored in man-made deposits or 'ponds'. These coal ash ponds often lie near rivers and streams, which lead to incidental leaching or seeping into those waterways due to natural processes, extreme weather events and poor maintenance such as no lining to cover the pond.
In just the last decade there's been two major coal ash spills that have lasting disastrous consequences to the Emory River in Kingston, TN and the Dan River in Eden, NC.
Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium and chromium present grave risks to human health. From EPA's peer-reviewed "Human and Ecological Health Risk Assessment for Coal Combustion Wastes," people who live near coal ash disposal sites have a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer from drinking water from arsenic, which is 2,000 times greater than EPA's goal.
Possum Point Coal Ash
We are currently investigating leaks and illegal discharges from Dominion's Coal Ash Ponds located at Possum Point Power Plant just south of Alexandria, and have filed Notice of Intent to sue. To read about our investigation and concerns, CLICK HERE.
PSR, Earthjustice: Coal Ash: The Toxic Threat to our Health and Environment