What is Coal Ash?
Coal ash, the waste leftover from burning coal, is toxic. Coal ash has harmful metals, like mercury and arsenic, and other dangerous chemicals. These chemicals become even more dangerous when they enter our water supplies.
Recent disasters spilled toxic coal ash into rivers and across people’s land in the southeast. On top of these high profile spills, pollution monitoring conducted by power companies shows that these unlined pits leak and contaminate groundwater.
So now, electric utilities are moving millions of tons of this waste to lined landfills to get them out of old, leaky unlined ponds.
Time is running out to move important coal ash legislation at the Georgia General Assembly that will protect Georgian’s drinking water. We need to tell our elected officials to pass these important bills before March 12--we cannot afford to sit back any longer while this waste contaminates our waterways.
Coal ash is the residue left behind after burning coal and it is toxic--it can contain lead, selenium, arsenic and more. Much of Georgia’s coal ash is stored in pits around coal-fired power plants owned by Georgia Power. These pits are unlined and recent research indicates that the toxins in coal ash are leaking into the well water of nearby communities and triggering serious health problems. Unfortunately, Georgia Power does not plan to line these coal ash storage facilities that will permanently be left in our groundwater, and which will likely lead to future contamination.
Coal ash is also imported from out of state and stored in six solid waste landfills. This influx of out-of-state coal ash is encouraged by low surcharge fees.
The Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) is a state-wide coalition of organizations working to protect Georgia’s water. Our coalition has a long history of working to keep toxins from coal ash out of our wells, rivers, lakes and streams. We believe all coal ash should be stored in a dry state with a liner and a cap away from waterways. Below we share our position on the status of the mansy coal ash bills now under consideration in Georgia’s 2019-2020 legislative session.
GWC Position: Support