Coal Combustion Wastes (CCW)
A Threat to Public Health and the Environment
Producing electricity from coal releases a wide range of pollutants into the environment. In addition to toxic air pollution from power plant smokestacks, large volumes of toxic chemicals are produced. These toxic wastes are included in solid and liquid wastes that are typically disposed of at or near the power plants that generate these wastes.
CCW landfills are basically huge unregulated toxic dumps.
Incredibly, disposal of these toxic solid and liquid wastes - 76 million tons per year of bottom ash, slag, and scrubber sludge are subject to no federal rule whatsoever, having been exempted from EPA rule by Congress for the past 20 years! State oversight is insufficient. In Missouri: liners are not required; some sites have monitoring, but the state has never requested records.
Power plant combustion wastes contain concentrated levels of numerous contaminants, particularly metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, chromium and cadmium, that can damage the nervous systems and other organs, especially in children. These contaminants can enter the environment through dust, leaching into groundwater or from direct or overflow discharges into surface waters, they can contaminate drinking water supplies and accumulate in livestock and crops.
People living in the vicinity of the power plant can be exposed to the pollutants in these wastes by:
Information and picture from Hoosier Environmental Council website http://www.hecweb.org/. See 'Laid to Waste'