Coal Ash – In Your Backyard?
The third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history occurred early in February 2014 when a Duke Energy coal ash pit in North Carolina breached and released up to 27 million gallons of polluted water and over 82,000 tons of ash. Unfortunately, environmental catastrophes such as this are becoming more frequent, and people in Illinois are paying close attention.
Threat to Your Health
Illinois has over 100 coal ash ponds and mine-fills that leach toxic chemicals to groundwater, lakes and rivers, where pollution can spread, polluting drinking water supplies and threatening fish and wildlife. Coal ash ponds are also prone to collapse, as happened near Kingston, Tennessee in 2008 when over 1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry spilled into the Clinch and Emory Rivers. Living near coal ash impoundments increases risk to serious medical problems, such as:
- Birth defects
- Neurological damage
- Reproductive issues
- Tumors and cancer
According to the U.S. EPA, your chance of getting cancer from water contaminated by coal ash is 1 in 50!
Here are fact sheets for selected coal ash pits in Illinois, along with a general overview of the hazards of coal ash.
- Fact Sheet (Overview)
Aerial Photography – Havana Coal Ash Pit