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Jan-05-2009 14:49printcomments

Are There a Hundred More Coal Ash Spill Sites Across U.S.?

15 states appear to have three or more Tennessee-like unlined “Surface Impoundment” sites For toxic coal-fired power plant waste.

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Could another major coal disaster happen at one of the many Tennessee-like power plant coal pollution dumping sites across the United States?

How much toxic arsenic, lead and other heavy metals that endanger drinking water are being dumped into those unlined “surface impoundment” sites each year?

How did federal regulation of coal pollution break down to allow these threats to exist … and what needs to happen if the public and environment are to be protected against future Tennessee-like disasters, as well as the “slow-motion” leaching of toxic metals into drinking water, rivers and streams?

These questions will be answered at 1:00 PM ET Wednesday, January 7th, 2009, when the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project presents a new data analysis identifying where Tennessee-style coal pollution dumping sites are located across the U.S. and how much toxic metal is being pumped into those sites.

The EIP data will look at the coal pollution dumping sites for the amounts of arsenic, lead and three additional toxic metals: chromium, selenium and thallium dumped at the sites.

News event speakers include Eric Schaeffer, director, Environmental Integrity Project; Lisa Evans, project attorney, EarthJustice; Stephen A. Smith, executive director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; and Christopher Irwin, staff attorney, United Mountain Defense, located in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The EIP data will identify coal ash disposal sites that have received the largest volume of these toxic metals since 2000, when EPA decided not to regulate such sites under federal hazardous waste laws.

Some of the sites have disposed of more toxic substances than the coal ash retention pond for TVA’s Kingston Steam plant, which burst and covered the nearby area with more than a billion gallons of toxic laden sludge just before Christmas.

The report will identify those plants that use surface impoundments; the EPA has determined that these ponds are most likely to leak pollution into groundwater and surface water.

One set of data that EIP is reviewing for the report shows that 15 states have three or more unlined “surface impoundment” sites for toxic coal-fired power plant waste. However, the final list of problem sites and the states in which they are located will not be finalized until EIP releases the full set of final data during the Wednesday news event.

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