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Ending Dangerous Coal Ash Pollution into the Ohio River

Google Earth satellite images of coal ash wastewater pollution from the Mill Creek Generating Station into the Ohio River.

Google Earth satellite images of coal ash wastewater pollution from the Mill Creek Generating Station into the Ohio River.

Map data (c) 2010 Google

What's at Stake

Coal ash contains dangerous chemicals including mercury, arsenic (a known carcinogen), lead, selenium, cadmium and many other harmful metals and pollutants. These toxic metals build up in ecosystems and most are dangerous even in very small amounts.

Overview

Time-lapse photography from a camera strapped to a tree captured a year’s worth of images proving that dangerous coal ash wastewater from a plant owned by the utility company Louisville Gas & Electric is pouring unabated into the Ohio River. A coal ash pond for LG&E’s Mill Creek Generating Station, which sits on the Ohio River, is the source of the pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency previously classified the pond as being ”high hazard,” meaning a failure or mis-operation of the ash pond dam will likely result in fatalities and environmental damage. While the federal Clean Water Act does protect waterways from pollution, there are no federal safeguards specific to coal ash pollution.

Coal ash is the toxic byproduct left over when coal is burned to generate electricity. It contains dangerous chemicals including mercury, arsenic (a known carcinogen), lead, selenium, cadmium and many other harmful metals and pollutants. These toxic metals build up in ecosystems and most are dangerous even in very small amounts. According to a 2010 report to Congress on the condition of Kentucky waters submitted by the Kentucky Energy & Environmental Cabinet, the Ohio River is impaired by mercury pollution and is subject to a fish consumption advisory.

Case ID

2712

Clients

Case Updates

September 27, 2016 | Legal Document

Proposed Consent Decree (Mill Creek)

If approved by the Court, this settlement will resolve the active lawsuit between the two organizations over discharged water at LG&E’s Mill Creek Generating Station under a permit issued by the Kentucky Division of Water.

September 27, 2016 | Legal Document

Motion For Consent Decree (Mill Creek)

Plaintiff Sierra Club and Defendant Louisville Gas and Electric Company move to lodge the attached Consent Decree and Appendix with the Court for later entry in accordance with the following paragraph of this joint motion. The Consent Decree represents a settlement of all claims presented by Sierra Club against LG&E in this case. The parties represent that the settlement terms are appropriate, reasonable, and in the public interest.