More News on Coal Ash

Today EarthJustice and the Environmental Integrity Project released an analysis on 31 additional coal ash contamination sites across the country. As always a large amount of the sites (6) were located in North Carolina. Below you will find the report's summaries for three of the worst sites within NC, of course since groundwater testing has not been required by the state until recently, some information is still unknown. First though you should know that arsenic, a human carcinogen was found in high levels at 19 of the 31 sites and at 26 of the 31 contamination exceeded one or more of the nation's primary drinking standards. A more interesting note came with the discovery that showed 2 of the contamination sites were actually projects that had used coal ash as a structural fill (one in NC.) This sheds a little light on the dangers associated with what coal ash proponents call "beneficial fill."

Progress Energy – Sutton Steam Plant
New Hanover County

Voluntary groundwater monitoring at the Sutton Plant coal ash impoundment detected levels of arsenic, boron, iron and manganese that exceed state groundwater standards. Arsenic concentrations were measured as high as 29 times the federal primary maximum contaminate level (MCL). Groundwater monitoring indicates that the contamination is migrating outside of the state designated compliance boundary for the coal ash impoundment. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a Notice of Violation and requested corrective action.

Progress Energy – Lee Steam Plant
Wayne County
Groundwater monitoring at the Lee Steam Plant site has found levels of arsenic, boron, iron, lead, and manganese that exceed North Carolina Code 2L Groundwater Standards. Arsenic concentrations have been measured as high as 44 times federal guidelines.

Swift Creek Structural Fill site
Highway 301 Swift Creek-Battleboro Road
Rocky Mount, NC

This coal combustion waste (CCW) disposal site was a 25-acre beneficial use structural fill operating from 1991 through at least 2001. CCW was placed directly above a shallow water table and into a wetland and into groundwater, contaminating off-site groundwater and causing off-site coal ash dust impacts to adjacent property. Arsenic, barium, lead, mercury, and sulfate levels in groundwater all exceeded North Carolina Code 2L Groundwater Standards and federal primary MCLs and secondary MCLs. Lead concentrations were as high as 0.093 mg/L, exceeding the state groundwater standard and primary MCL by more than 6 times. Arsenic concentrations were as high as 0.068 mg/L, also exceeding the state groundwater standard and measuring nearly 7 times the primary MCL in site groundwater. Lead was measured at more than twice the primary MCL in off-site groundwater downgradient from the ash, and arsenic and sulfate levels also exceeded primary MCLs in off-site groundwater. Coal ash from six North Carolina and Virginia power plants was placed at this CCW disposal site. The site was classified as a beneficial use site and did not require a permit from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

For the complete summary visit EarthJustice.

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