Four Alabama environmental organizations have released new interactive maps highlighting groundwater pollution reported by Alabama Power and Power South at coal ash pits throughout the state. Alabama Power’s federally required monitoring shows significant pollution of groundwater with arsenic, radium, and more. Pollution has persisted even after Alabama Power closed their leaking Gadsden pit using cap-in-place - the same method it plans for millions of tons of coal ash in their pits statewide.
Alabama Power currently plans to cap-in-place all their coal ash pits statewide. We at Mobile Baykeeper maintain that this is not an effective solution - and now we have Alabama Power’s own reports, as well as a maximum fine from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), to back us up.
(Mobile, Ala.) - On January 7 2019, during the height of flooding in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Mobile Baykeeper staff flew with SouthWings over the Delta to observe Alabama Power’s 597-acre unlined coal ash pit. More than 21 million tons of toxic coal ash in the pit is only held back by an earthen (dirt) dam and views from the air and the river show flood water dangerously covering as much as 15 feet of the 25 foot dam.
Hurricane Florence did not directly impact the Gulf Coast, but this catastrophic storm highlighted critical weaknesses of coal ash ponds in coastal areas. This summer we caught up on coal ash and explained the dangers of this toxic material including the grave dangers of having a coal ash pond in a floodplain near the coast just upstream of Mobile Bay. Today we look at the threats of coal ash pollution in a post-Florence world.