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Sources Holler Back on Coal Ash

Schuykill County is one of the three counties in eastern Pennsylvania home to the cancer clusters we reported on in our story on coal ash dumping, the solid waste side of coal. One of our sources for the piece, geologist Robert Gadinski, formerly with Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Environmental Protection, has sent me new information about coal combustion waste dumping from the five plants in Schuykill County. Take a look at these high levels (pdf here) of dangerous metals found in the coal ash being dumped by Schuykill’s cogeneration plants. Keep in mind that the plants, the Dept. of Energy and the state’s environment agency all say that dumping coal ash is a "beneficial use" for the environment.

Gadinski also points to the extremely high levels of lead (pdf here) found in the coal ash being dumped in Schuykill County. Lead and other toxic metals have been found in many cases to be leaching from the ash into the groundwater and drinking water. The charts he sent me show that Schuykill’s plants produce as much lead as all the plants in Maryland(pdf here) and New Mexico (pdf here). Maryland and New Mexico are home to a lot of coal ash dumping from coal-fired energy plants.

"This should really bring to question the claim of Clean Coal Technology!" Gadinski said.

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