Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Georgia Power speeds closure of coal-ash ponds

Georgia Power Co. announced on Monday that it "is accelerating its closure of toxic coal-ash ponds, a move welcomed by environmental groups who fear arsenic, lead and other heavy metals can leach into groundwater and poison homeowners’ wells," Dan Chapman and Russell Grantham report for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The move "brings Georgia more in line with neighboring states that have already closed coal ash ponds or ordered them cleaned up." (AJC photo by Bob Andres: Ash lagoon at Plant McDonough near Smyrna, Ga.)

"Georgia Power said its 29 ash ponds statewide will no longer receive coal ash within three years, as opposed to a much lengthier timeline previously announced," Chapman and Grantham write. "Ash from 16 of those ponds, located near lakes or rivers, will be completely removed and added to other ponds and landfills or recycled. The company’s other 13 ponds will be 'closed in place' with concrete barriers and other measures designed to keep the ash from the groundwater."

A Georgia Power spokesperson said "it will cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion to close the ponds and keep coal-fired electric plants from creating additional 'wet' ash," Chapman and Grantham write. The power plants "will keep running while the conversion work is underway." (Read more)

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