Tag: coal ash

Coal ash pollution poisoning fish in North Carolina

Toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants builds up in fresh water fish. @bberwyn photo.

Trump’s proposed Cuts to federal regulations likely to lead to more environmental woes

Staff Report

Coal ash waste is poisoning fish in North Carolina lakes, scientists said this week announcing findings from a new study supported in part by the EPA. The research by scientists from Duke University showed that potentially harmful levels of selenium are building up because of emissions from coal-fired power plants.

“Across the board, we’re seeing elevated selenium levels in fish from lakes affected by coal combustion residual effluents,” said Jessica Brandt, a doctoral student in environmental health at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who led the study, published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Continue reading “Coal ash pollution poisoning fish in North Carolina”


EPA coal-ash disposal hearings in Denver this week

A Google map showing the location of some of Colorado's coal-fired power plants.

New rules for disposal of toxic power plant residue proposed, public comment wanted Sept. 2 at the Grand Hyatt, 1750 Welton St. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Coal-fired power plants in Colorado generate more than 1.5 million tons of coal ash each year, some of it laced with heavy metals and other toxic pollutants. Believe it or not, much of that waste is ends up in landfills or disposal ponds more than 30 years old and very likely not equipped with impermeable liners to prevent any of the poisons from leaching into the groundwater. Two of the state’s 40 coal-ash disposal ponds have reported spills in the last three years. Click here to learn exactly where Colorado’s coal-ash disposal sites are.

Coal ash is the waste product that’s left after the coal is burned. It often contains pollutants captured by power plant scrubbers and filters, including mercury, arsenic, lead, chromium and selenium. All these are highly toxic and cause a litany of health problems: Neurological disorders; skin, bladder and lung cancer; nerve and vision damage; intestinal, kidney, liver and reproductive system malfunction.

The EPA is considering new regulations for coal ash waste disposal and has scheduled hearings this week (Sept. 2) in Denver to take public comment. Environmental groups say new rules are badly needed, citing several studies showing how toxins have from the poorly regulated dumps and contaminated the groundwater, leading to the potential for human health impacts. Read more about the proposed new rule here. Continue reading “EPA coal-ash disposal hearings in Denver this week”