Coal ash is contaminating our drinking water supplies and endangering Hoosiers’ health. With more coal ash sludge lagoons – 84 – than any other state, Indiana should be acting to ensure safe disposal of this dangerous waste, but our coal ash disposal standards are weaker than those for household trash. HEC is urging that the U.S. EPA adopt enforceable national standards for coal ash disposal.
-- In the last decade, a coal ash lagoon owned by Indianapolis Power and Light failed twice, releasing a total of 60 million gallons of coal ash sludge, contaminating the White River in the Martinsville area.
· --Ten Indiana coal ash sludge lagoons have contaminated groundwater.
· --Five Indiana coal ash lagoons inspected by the U.S. EPA have been rated with a “high hazard” potential, meaning a failure could endanger human life.
· --Residents in East Mt. Carmel had to have their drinking water replaced after boron, leached from a Duke Energy-owned coal ash lagoon at the Gibson power plant, contaminated their water wells.
· -- In the Town of Pines, Northwest Indiana-based utility NIPSCO was allowed to dump more than 100 million tons of coal ash into an unlined landfill, and dispose of more coal ash by using it as road fill and a soil leveler throughout the town. As a result, a toxic plume of heavy metals made its way into residents’ drinking water wells. The Town of Pines has since been declared a Superfund site, and local residents are still waiting for remediation to eliminate this health and environmental hazard.
Learn more about Indiana’s coal ash problem in HEC’s new report, Our Waters at Risk.