Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Tr-Ash Talk: State of Failure


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Debra Mayfield:
Five Years Later and the Story of the TVA Spill Continues

It’s been five years, but hard to forget: On December 22, 2008, just after midnight, the town of Harriman, Tennessee woke to the flood of more than ...

by Lisa Evans:
Giving Thanks for the End of Catfish Stuffing

Five years ago, fish biologists scooped up a catfish full of toxic ash from the Kingston coal ash disaster. Last month, the U.S. District Court for t...

by Lisa Evans:
TVA Five Years Later—Lessons Not Learned

It’s been almost five years since the TVA Kingston coal ash disaster blanketed an idyllic riverfront community in toxic waste. I revisited the ...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
17 August 2011, 10:37 AM
Twelve states lack any regulation of coal ash toxic waste
Aerial view of the 2008 TVA Kingston coal ash spill. (EPA)

Yes, we’re still waiting. And while we wait for comprehensive federal standards that regulate toxic coal ash, we have some more bad news about the state of states' coal ash disposal.

We joined with Appalachian Mountain Advocates to release a report detailing the lack of state-based regulations for coal ash disposal and the 12 worst states when it comes to coal ash dumping: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Among the conclusions:

  • Alabama coal ash ponds are completely unregulated at the state level, yet more than 5 million tons of ash from the Kingston TVA spill were shipped in for disposal.
  • Georgia’s aging ponds rarely undergo regulatory inspections, although 13 of 29 ponds are at least 40 years old.
  • Illinois ranks first in the number of coal ash ponds with 83. Only about a third of the ponds are lined or monitored.
  • Indiana has more operating coal ash ponds (71) than any other state, but its lax oversight resulted in eight contaminated sites and numerous pond spills.
  • Kentucky is fifth in the nation in coal ash generation, and it has 43 operating coal ash ponds, 21 of which exceed a height of 25 feet or impound more than 500 acre‐feet of ash.
  • Missouri’s largest, most dangerous coal ash pond is the only one of 32 that is regulated for dam safety while the state allows ponds impounding more than 170 million gallons of coal ash to escape safety regulation.
  • North Carolina has enough coal ash to flood an area the size of the UNC Chapel Hill campus 32 feet high.
  • Ohio excludes all coal ash from regulation by classifying it as “nontoxic," leading to water contamination at seven coal ash dump sites across the state.
  • South Carolina has more than 50 percent of its 22 ash dams classified as large capacity impoundments or with dam heights above 25 feet. 
  • Tennessee still has no set of rules that apply to the structural stability and safety of its coal ash dams despite the $1 billion TVA coal ash disaster
  • Texas is the second largest generator of coal ash in the U.S., generating roughly 13 million tons annually.
  • Virginia regulations do not require composite liners, groundwater monitoring and daily cover at all coal ash ponds and landfills.

The report includes detailed information on basic disposal safeguards, such as groundwater monitoring, liners, isolation of ash from the water table, and financial assurance requirements in 37 states where coal ash is currently generated and disposed. It's worth a read.
 

BIG BUSINESS HAS A CHOKEHOLD AROUMD THIS COUNTRY'S N NECK AND IT'S ABOUT TIME THEY BEGAN TO REALIZE THEY SHOULD START THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE BOTTOM LINE... THE HOME I GREW UP IN - A FARMHOUSE IN IN WEST VIRGINIA WAS DESTROYED, ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHER BUILDINGS ONE NEEDS ON A WORKING FARM, i.e., BARN, CHICKENCOOP, SILO, EQUIPMENT BARN AND VARIOUS OTHERS WENT THE WAY OF THE FARMHOUSE - DESTROYED, TO MAKE WAY FOR THE STRIP MINING THAT CAME IN AND SLICED OFF THE TOP OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL HILLS WHERE MY 5 SIBLINGS AND I PLAYED, PICKED BERRIES FOR OUR MOTHER TO MAKE COBLERS, JAMS AND JELLIES SHE CANNED ALONG WITH THE VEGETABLES FROM OUR LARGE GARDENS...

THOSE HILLS WHERE WE HIKED, PLAYED, AND PICNICED ARE GONE NOW AND THE FARM EXISTS NO LONGER. IN FACT, HAT WHOLE COMMUNITY OF RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS NO LONGER LIVE THERE BECAUSE THAT COMMUNITY WAS DESTROYED BY THE COAL MINING COMPANY'S DYNAMITE THAT CREATED A LARGE AREA OF DESTRUCTION THAT CAUSED NOT JUST WHAT THE EYE CAN SEE, BUT LEFT IN ITS WAKE THE
DAMAGE CAUSED TO THE ENVIRONMENT -- THE AIR WE BREATHE -- SICKNESSES WE NEVER HAD BEFORE...THE COUNTRY ROADS NO LONGER HAVE SCHOOL BUSES TAKING CHILDREN TO SCHOOLS - IN THE PLACE OF THOSE BUSES ARE COAL TRUCKS MOVING IN AND OUT BY THE TENS OF DOZENS -- ALL FOR WHAT? PROFIT? -- THAT BOTTOM LINE -- AND THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS "CLEAN COAL" -- WHO THOUGHT THAT ONE UP?

I'M A FEMALE, 83 YEARS OF AGE NOW -- I'VE BEEN GONE FROM THAT BEAUTIFUL FARM AREA IN WEST VIRGINIA FOR CLOSE TO 70 YEARS.. IT'S A SIN AND DISGRACEFUL WHAT WAS DONE TO THAT BEAUTIFUL PLACE!! IT'S NOW JUST UGLY!!! SINCERELY...

Arlene, I so agree with you about how sickening it is (both mentally and physically) about how our country is all about money, power and greed...I would rather have the good old days where the land was respected, not disrespected and destroyed for the sake of the almighty dollar by businesses that claim to have our best interest at heart. It makes me sick the way we have become and that all the bliss we experienced in younger days is now a but a memory. Soon, all of us that remember the way it was will also be gone, unless we pass on our memories to to others that we know. And, we must express to our children and all the others who are to young to remember anything else how important it is to stop it before it is too late.

I seriously doubt if your husband's Stage 4 cancers are from any nuclear power plant. Between you and me, if the choice comes down to nuclear power plants or fossil fuel operated power plants, I will choose nuclear every time. The situations in the 1970's have no relevance to the technology of today. As for Mars being destroyed and the remnants floating to earth to repopulate it, you need to start writing science-fiction novels---or better yet, pure fantasy. Good grief---does this site bring out all the wackos in the US????

Error on the North Carolina bullet - UNC does not have a Raleigh campus. UNC is located at Chapel Hill. North Carolina State is in Raleigh. Please correct this mistake.

Yes Denise...the most important piece of information to be taken from this article is that the location of UNC and NC State are incorrectly provided. THAT is what everyone is concerned about here in the coal ash waste debate especially in your state.

A factual error is a factual error, regardless of its relation to the argument. Anyone wishing to debate this article could simply point out the writers responsible can't even correctly identify the location of a famous university; how can we trust their, more complex, mathematical data?

The coal industry already fights these studies at every opportunity. There is no need to make their argument easier by not double-checking information.

Mountain Top removal is NOT a necessary evil! they just do NOT want to change their ugly ways!

In Arizona back in the late 1970s they were building Palo Verde Nuclear Plant on the CA/AZ border to power California and pollute Az. I was arrested with a group Protesting it! Then tonight I found out that Obama received Campaign contributions for his senate run from NUCLEAR and he LIED to us!!!! He sat there and said he was against it! there are 442 Nuclear Plants around the globe 105 I think it said were being built and quite a few in the US ( TOO MANY) they make me think of the theory that humanity WAS on Mars and blew it into dust and that is how human cells came to be on earth from explosion. Earth will end up like Mars if they keep going! They are KILLING us all! My husband has stage 4 cancer diagnosed at age 54 with stage FOUR! Prostate cancer now in his bones! The occupiers in OUR offices and buildings do NOT rep the people!

I have to agree with Topteach about the Nuc plants. I did 21 years Submarine duty in the Navy sleeping and living with-in 100 foot of a nuc plant for years. I don't glow in the dark and my kids were born fine all their fingers and toes. At 57 I am cancer free and in fair health. Build more Nuc plants!

I agree, more or less, but likelier that Mar's population trashed Mars and escaped to a clean,virgin Earth which they are now,again, in the process of trashing.

That scenario or something similar seems strangely likely.

So very sorry about your husband, my prayers are with you and your family. There are many who suffer from the mistakes of man. I believe if we want to change the carelessness of man's distructive way's the people must stand up. We must ALL stand together and fight back. Unfortunately most Americans just don't care or are just too lazy too get up off their way too big butts. We have been made fools of by the people we elected to look out for us. Big Business runs this Country,and all politicians. Nothing will change untill the people stand together. This day will come and I believe sooner then we think. The greedy have taken America to it's knees.

What are the best uses of coal ash?..... I have done an analysis... chemically.... a good a possible good source of sulfer and calcium.... that could be used as a soil amendment... yet.... in what amounts?..... I would very much appreciate input... on how we could 'recycle' minerals... nutrients back into the environment... safely.. sustainably....

My Soil Consultant Prof. friend writes: Coal ash is pretty variable, depending on source of the coal. It is always alkaline and has been used as a liming agent where the soils are acid (mostly eastern US). With modern clean up of the exhaust smoke it probably, now has sulfur in it, but that used to burn off into the air; ie. acid rain. Some (usually anthracite or hard) coal ash has rocky bits called clinkers limit it,s application in the field.
Coal beds are often associated with uranium deposits and careful analysis of the ash would need to include a radioactivity check and probably clearance from the EPA and what ever state agency governs fertilizer regulations.
But the general idea is a good one. Coal burning will probably be our energy source for the foreseeable future and it does produce a lot of ash. Agronomists have been studying land application for a long time - had a prof when I was at Penn State in the 1950's that was working on the ash problem. They burned a lot of coal in PA.

I hope you did the analysis on 10 samples. Coal ash also contains mercury and arsenic. Doing one sample begs for error.

Okay, can we put this crap on your yard first?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.