rsenic and radium are still leaking from Plant Gadsden’s unlined coal ash pit after Alabama Power closed it using the cap-in-place method. This is the same method the utility plans to use for Plant Barry’s coal ash pit, located just 25 miles north of Mobile on the Mobile River. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) proposed the maximum fine of $250,000 for Alabama Power’s violations at Plant Gadsden.
Alabamians deserve clean water just as much as other citizens in the Southeast. Leaving toxic coal ash within a few hundred feet of a major river that is prone to severe flooding is simply nowhere near protective enough. Mobile Baykeeper will fight ardently for coal ash removal until Alabama Power commits to dig it up and move it so Mobile Bay, the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, our local economy, and our communities are safe.
(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.
If the dam broke, it would release more than 21 million tons of toxic coal ash into the heart of the Delta, a volume 20 times larger than the oil spilled from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster. We don’t want to see another disaster strike the Gulf Coast. Covering this leaking unlined pond near the Mobile River is irresponsible and threatens the health of our community, economy, and environment.