Contamination Found in Water Near Illinois Coal Ash Dumps
Analysis based on testing mostly conducted by energy companies shows that water near all but two coal plants in Illinois is contaminated with toxic waste.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said 10 of the sites pose a danger to drinking water supplies of nearby communities.
The Waukegan plant, formerly owned by Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), has two unlined coal ash ponds onsite, along with an unlicensed landfill.
“We need stronger rules that provide permanent protection with a financial guarantee, and give the public a voice in these decisions.” Analysis of Industry-Supplied Data Nonprofit groups who produced the report based on industry-supplied data from 24 coal plants include the Environmental Integrity Project and the Sierra Club.
The groups are asking J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat and the state’s governor-elect, to require coal plant owners to set aside money to clean up their coal ash pits.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year revised its rule on coal ash disposal.
The changes also gave utilities more time to clean up ash ponds, until October 2020, instead of the original April 2019 date.
In October, the Hoosier Environmental Council in Indiana, along with five other groups, filed suit in an effort to force the Trump administration to uphold the rules ordering utilities to clean up ash ponds by April 2019.
Many Illinois coal plants have disposed of coal ash in a process where it is mixed with water and then pumped into unlined pits.
The EPA in its technical studies to develop the CCR rule found that closure-in-place or closure-by-removal of coal ash were the best options to protect human health and the environment.