Report criticizes state's monitoring of coal ash
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A coalition of environmental groups listed FirstEnergy's Little Blue in Beaver County and Allegheny Energy's Hatfield's Ferry in Greene County among 39 coal ash disposal sites that "are not being monitored properly by state governments."
Released days before a series of hearings on coal ash disposal, the report calls for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to get more involved in the handling of the waste, which is high in dangerous metals.
"It is time for the EPA to develop national standards," said environmental consultant Russell Boulding, one of five speakers in a telephone news conference.
Coal ash is waste left over from power generation; Little Blue holds waste from FirstEnergy's Bruce Mansfield generation plant in Shippingport. The EPA officially lists 67 disposal sites; the coalition -- which includes the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club -- has now identified 70 others it believes should be monitored by the EPA, the 39 listed today and 31 listed in February.
Jeff Stant, director of the Coal Combustion Waste Initiative for the EIP, said the primary fear is that contaminants including arsenic, lead, selenium, thallium and others can seep from the disposal ponds into the groundwater aquifers that feed private and public water wells.
Lyndsay Moseley, federal policy representative for the Sierra Club, said 22 off-site wells near Little Blue had levels of arsenic, lead and selenium that were above recommended levels.
"People should not have to live in fear ... when standards effectively enforced could protect them," she said.
The report is available online at http://www.environmentalintegrity.org/news_reports/documents/INHARMSWAY_FINAL2.pdf.
First Published August 27, 2010 12:00 am