A study released today finds several new sites in Iowa where water is contaminated by metals from ash produced by coal-fired power plants. The report by several environmental groups looks at coal-ash dump sites in 21 states. It found three sites in Iowa with contamination that had not been identified by federal regulators.
Jeff Stant worked on the study for the Environmental Integrity Project. “The report documents that state governments are not sufficiently monitoring waste disposal and the EPA needs strong new regulations to protect the public,” Stant says. Stant says the coal ash sites pose a danger to the public.
“The contamination of water supplies, threats to people, and damage to the environment documented in this report, illustrate very real and dangerous harms that’re prohibited by law but are going on in a largely unchecked fashion at today’s coal ash dump sites,” Stant says.
The three sites in Iowa identified in the report were the Lansing Power Station, and the George Neal north and south stations, both near Sioux City. At all three locations, groundwater was found to contain arsenic above the federal limit.
Arsenic is linked to health problems including cancer of the liver, bladder and lungs. The report calls for increased federal oversight of coal-ash dump sites. It was released ahead of a national series of hearings on the issue hosted by the EPA beginning next week.
Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources could not be reached for comment.