Coal ash dump sites in 20 newly identified locations are causing soil and groundwater contamination, according to a report by an environmental group.
The report by the Washington-based Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) said of the latest sites originally identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 19 of the sites had contaminated groundwater with arsenic or other toxic metals exceeding at least one Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Level as well as other health-based standards. A 20th site in Indiana has contaminated soil along a rail trail with arsenic 900 times the federal screening levels for site cleanups, EIP said in a news release.
The sites exist in 10 states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Jim Roewer, executive director of the Washington-based Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, disagreed with the report in an interview, saying some were cases of misinterpretation. He says it is indicative that state regulatory agencies are not taking much action in reponse to these concerns. "They're interpreting it as something less than damage cases," he says.
Since 2010, EIP said it has identified 90 coal ash ponds and landfills with groundwater contamination that have been overlooked in reports generated by the EPA.
Jeff Stant, director of the Coal Combustion Waste Initiative for the Environmental Integrity Project, said, "The 67 cases of coal ash water contamination identified by the EPA and the additional body 90 toxic sites found by EIP all point to one clear conclusion: Those in Congress who think this threat to groundwater and drinking water should go unmonitored, unpoliced and unaddressed are dead wrong.”