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March 6, 2018

US utilities find water pollution at coal-burning power plants

  • Industry
  • Energy

CBS News – Major utilities have found evidence of groundwater contamination at coal-burning power plants across the U.S. where landfills and man-made ponds have been used for decades as dumping grounds for coal ash, according to data released by plant owners under a Friday deadline. Heightened levels of pollutants -- including arsenic and radium in some cases -- were documented at plants in numerous states, from Virginia and North Carolina to Washington and Alaska.

The Environmental Protection Agency required the plant owners to install test wells to monitor groundwater pollution as a first step toward cleaning up the sites. The future of that effort was cast into uncertainty Thursday when the Trump administration announced it intends to roll back aspects of the program to reduce the industry's compliance costs by up to $100 million annually.

"There's no dispute that the underlying groundwater is being contaminated. We see that clearly," said Duke University professor Avner Vengosh, who researches the effects of coal ash and has reviewed some of the new data. "The real question is whether it's migrating toward people or wells next to (coal plants)."

Read more at CBS News.

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