Hazardous coal ash locations released for first time after spill

Locations of hazardous coal ash created by the energy industry burning it for power have been released by America's environment watchdog.

The US Environmental Protection Agency made the locations public following a coal ash spill at a Tennessee Valley Authority facility in Kingston.

That disaster caused the flooding of hundreds of acres of land, destroyed homes and devastated wildlife and fish stocks.

Despite being the reason for the report, which has information from 219 industrial sites, the Tennessee site is not included in the list.

A spokesman said: "Based on the initial information and site visits to date, the agency has not encountered any issue which required immediate action or attention on the part of the utility or federal or state government.

"That is not to say that the site visits haven't noted some areas that should be addressed, such as maintenance activities and correcting the low areas of the dam crest by placing engineered fill.

"Any recommendations that EPA believes are appropriate will be provided to the company, as well as placed in the final report that will be made available to the public."

It will also monitor the dams holding the coal ash in place creating a rating system for them as either 'high' or 'significant'.

The rating's due to be published towards the end of the year refers to the potential for loss of life or damage if there is a dam failure.

The EPA however made it clear the ratings do not refer to the structural stability of the dam, just its proximity to residential areas and the impact a leak would have on the surrounding land.

For more information here.

Luke Walsh


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