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toxic material 45 articles

Why is toxic coal ash used to fertilize crops we eat?

We’ve all been told that eating fruits and vegetables can make us healthier. But some crops could make us sick. It’s the fertilizer that’s to blame. Farmers are being encouraged by the U.S. government to dust their fields with waste from coal-firing facilities. It’s a win-win situation, says the government. Coal ash helps loosen and fertilize soil for the farmers, and it helps reduce a waste disposal issue for the coal-firing plants. That coal ash is a synthetic form of the mineral gypsum, produced by power plant “scrubbers” that remove sulfur dioxide from the smoke stack emissions. The chalky substance ... Read More

EPA guidelines may require coal-firing plants to plan for disasters

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be delayed in proposing new regulations for storage of toxic coal ash, but one item expected to be on the agency’s proposal is gaining applause from conservation groups. The EPA says its plan includes a requirement for coal-firing plants to set aside money that would be used in the event of future toxic waste problems, such as spills or leaks like the one from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) plant in December 2008 that devastated a neighboring east Tennessee community. Coal ash is not classified as a hazardous material and thus did not fall ... Read More

Coal ash spill worse than originally thought

The December 2008 coal ash spill from a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power plant in Kingston, Tenn., was already considered one of the nation’s largest environmental disasters, but one year after the spill, authorities say the devastation is even bigger than first imagined. Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project, tells The Environment Report’s Tanya Ott that the 2.6 billion pounds of toxic sludge from the east Tennessee impoundment pond is more than the total discharge of all United States power plants last year. The spill, which piled as high as nine feet in some areas, knocked houses ... Read More

Tenn. coal ash spill among worst man-made environmental disasters

Last year, when a coal ash impoundment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) fossil fuel plant in east Tennessee breached, sending a wave of toxic material on to a neighboring rural community, the event made headlines worldwide as one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history. It also landed in the No. 1 spot on EarthFirst.com’s “America’s Top 10 Worst Man-Made Environmental Disasters”. “Humans have turned screwing up the earth into an art form, skillfully wreaking havoc on the land, water and air through negligence, lack of concern or even the greedy desire to profit at all costs,” ... Read More

EPA says coal ash is safe to use as fertilizer on crops

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it is OK for farmers to spread coal ash on to their fields to fertilize soil, even though the material contains toxins that have been linked to serious health complications such as cancer and liver damage. The agency says that the material contains just a trace amount of toxins that don’t pose a risk to humans through groundwater contamination or by consuming the crops. But environmentalists beg to differ. The coal ash, a byproduct of fossil fuel plants, which for years farmers have used to fertilize their fields, is also used to strengthen concrete ... Read More

Perry County residents file lawsuit against ADEM

“How do you spell relief? COAL ASH,” says Perry County, Alabama Commissioner Albert Turner, Jr., in remarks prepared for a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. Turner testified this week about how the historically poor and black county is benefiting from shipments of coal ash recovered from the east Tennessee community where it spilled from a neighboring coal-firing plant. The problem is residents of Perry County are more apt to call the arrangement a nightmare rather than a boon to the community. Last December, the lives of the residents of Kingston, Tenn., were changed forever when ... Read More

Resident upset about county’s decision to store recovered coal ash

At 80, Ruby Holmes doesn’t have much fight left in her. So she sits in her home and deals with the deck she’s been given. In her community, which used to be in a place she called a “quiet, beautiful place … nothing but fresh air,” she can no longer open the windows. “That stuff, whatever it is over there, wakes me up, it smells so bad,” she told the Birmingham News. Holmes lives not far from the Arrowhead Landfill in Perry County, Ala., the same landfill that is taking in millions of tons of coal ash recovered from east ... Read More

TVA keeps overlook of coal ash spill site closed to general public

Residents of Kingston, Tenn., are tired of the bad rap their rural community has gotten since a neighboring coal ash impoundment pond breached, sending a wave of toxic material on to its property and waterways. That spill, called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, destroyed homes, damaged property, and contaminated popular waterways. The last thing residents want is for the public to view that mess at will, even while the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) undergoes a years-long, $1.2 billion cleanup of the mess it made. Those residents this week applauded a decision made by the TVA to keep an ... Read More

Roane County divvies up TVA money to rebuild community after coal ash spill

Roane County, Tenn. is wasting no time to put to good use the $43 million allocated to the city by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for improvements to the county’s infrastructure and other programs to help improve the city’s tarnished image. The county is trying to pull out from under more than a billion gallons of toxic material after a coal ash pond at the neighboring TVA coal-burning plant ruptured last December and sent a wave of dangerous coal ash on to nearby property, destroying houses and contaminating waterways in its wake. TVA is engaged in a near $1 billion ... Read More

County asks TVA for millions to clean up tattered image after coal ash spill

Roane County, Tenn., was once a destination spot for retirees and locals seeking a bit of quiet and some water recreation along the Emory River. That changed nine months ago, when a coal impoundment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-burning plant in Kingston, Tenn., broke, sending a 1.1 billion gallon wave of toxic material on to the neighboring community. The pile of sludge pushed homes from their foundations, destroyed property and contaminated the Emory and other nearby waterways. The TVA is engaged in a near-$1 billion cleanup, but city and county officials say much more will be needed ... Read More