Yesterday, the Environmental Integrity Project released a report showing that 91% of coal ash sites around the country are contaminating groundwater. Out of 265 sites evaluated the Allen Steam Station in Belmont had the second worst pollution.
The rankings took into account the number of contaminants, concentrations, and associated risk to human health. Cobalt was found at 473x the national and 2840x the state standards. The data was compiled from Duke Energy’s mandated sampling which can be found here.
While not making the top 10, the Marshall Plant on Lake Norman also showed groundwater contamination. Nine different elements including Arsenic, Radium, and Thallium were found above national standards.
The NC DEQ is currently determining how these sites will be cleaned up. They will announce their decision by April 1. If capped in place (Duke’s preference), coal ash will continue to leach toxic pollutants into our groundwater. Excavating the ash to lined landfills above the water table is the first step towards protecting our water.
Hundreds of citizens came to the hearings in January to advocate for excavation. Thousands of citizens signed petitions and wrote comments. Last month the Iredell County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution calling for excavation.
Coal ash should not be left in unlined piles on the banks of our drinking water reservoirs. Both South Carolina and Virginia are excavating their ash.
Please join us now in calling on Governor Roy Cooper to make a stand on this issue and work to ensure the excavation of all NC coal ash.
Report finds widespread contamination at nation’s coal ash sites (Washington Post)