Pollution & Priorities

July 3, 2019

About the author:

Sara Myers is associate editor of iWWD. Myers can be reached at [email protected]

Like many months in the year, these past have been especially busy for the U.S. EPA. The issue of coal ash ponds have come up yet again, and EPA added more hazardous waste sites to the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List (NPL).

At the Ameren Labadie Energy Center in Missouri, coal ash was seeping into groundwater that spread for miles through aquifers. Environmental nonprofits reported 91% of coal-fired power plants have contaminated groundwater beneath them.

In 2008, the largest industrial spill in U.S. history occurred in Kingston, Tenn. More than 5 million cu yards of coal ash spilled into the Emory River. According to The Missourian, a Missouri newspaper reporting on coal ash ponds, this was the first major coal ash spill in the U.S. 

Environmental groups, including the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, collected data from 265 coal plants, 550 individual coal ponds or landfills, and 4,600 groundwater monitoring wells in the U.S. The report found groundwater at 52% of coal plants contains unsafe levels of arsenic, and groundwater at 69% of coal plants contains unsafe levels of lithium.

In addition to pollution issues, more sites were added to the NPL list this May such as the Sporlan Valve Plant #1 in Washington, Mo. According to EPA, the site was developed as a refrigeration valve manufacturing facility in 1939. At the site, trichloroethylene (TCE) was used as a degreaser and an industrial solvent. TCE contaminated soil and groundwater beneath the facility, and is the primary contaminant of conern at the site. It is linked to several cancers including leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer.

The NPL is made up of sites with some of the nation’s uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. According to EPA, the list primarily serves as a way to prioritize EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Sites on the NPL only are sites eligible to receive funding for long-term cleanup.

For more news on groundwater pollution and other hazardous waste sites, visit www.iwwdmag.com for the latest news coverage in the industrial water industry.

About the Author

Sara Myers

Sponsored Recommendations

Get Utility Project Solutions

June 13, 2024
Lightweight, durable fiberglass conduit provides engineering benefits, performance and drives savings for successful utility project outcomes.

Energy Efficient System Design for WWTPs

May 24, 2024
System splitting with adaptive control reduces electrical, maintenance, and initial investment costs.

Meeting the Demands of Wastewater Treatment Plants

May 24, 2024
KAESER understands the important requirements wastewater treatment plant designers and operators consider when evaluating and selecting blowers and compressed air equipment. In...

Modernize OT Cybersecurity to Mitigate Risk

April 25, 2024
Rockwell Automation supports industry-leading Consumer Packaged Goods company, Church & Dwight, along their industrial cybersecurity journey.