Walking in Memphis—Just Feet Above a Coal Ash Cesspool

Memphis residents now have another reason to sing the blues. Last week, the nation’s largest public utility, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), admitted that the groundwater beneath its Allen coal-burning power plant is poisoned with astronomically high amounts of arsenic. Levels of the potent carcinogen measure nearly 400 times the federal limit for drinking water. In addition, lead in the groundwater is more than four times the standard.

Pruitt EPA’s Water Pollution Delay Extends Uncertainty for Southeast Coal Plants

Since 1982, little has changed about the toxic pollution coal-fired power plants are allowed to dump in water, although change was on its way. Unfortunately, if EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has his way, our waterways and our health will remain threatened by our nation’s leading source of toxic water pollution – coal fired power plants. We will have to keep on waiting for modern, updated protections and coal plant operators face continued uncertainty over their compliance obligations – uncertainty that may actually accelerate coal’s decline. In early May, Environmental groups challenged the legality Administrator Pruitt’s stay.

In the Southeast, many power plants’ operators were already preparing to meet new 2015 standards, which would go into effect in 2018, updating pollution control technology at their plants and working with state agencies to update state water discharge permits. The 2015 Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs), which represents the first update to these regulations since 1982, nearly eliminates dumping of ash-contaminated wastewater, and for the first time, limits the discharge of toxic heavy metals that come from removing toxics from the air pollution stream and trapping them in sludge as part of the wastewater stream.

Positive Steps Forward: Resolution Passes to Address FPL’s Turkey Point Pollution; More Needs to be Done

It is clear that policy makers and elected leaders are starting to pay closer attention to some of the energy-water issues impacting Florida. Finally, there are some efforts underway on several fronts to protect water quality, ensure better water quantity conditions in the dry season as well as moves toward a less water-intensive, renewable energy future in Florida.

Environmental Leadership? New Study Provides Facts and Solutions for FPL’s Turkey Point Open Industrial Sewer

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) not only identifies problems, but is also committed to advocating for solutions. One of the most significant water quality problems in the Southeast is the ongoing pollution at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) Turkey Point cooling canal system. This open industrial sewer appears to be in direct conflict with FPL’s corporate environmental stewardship goals. And a slick PR campaign can’t cover up evidence that this system is failing and needs to be fixed.

Guest Post: FPL Sued Over Turkey Point Crisis By Environmental Groups In Federal Clean Water Act Lawsuit

Last week environmental groups — Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Tropical Audubon Society, and Friends of the Everglades — filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit against FPL in federal court for ongoing pollution at the Turkey Point power complex in South Florida.

To Drink or Not to Drink: A Change in Advice for North Carolina Well Owners Near Coal Ash Ponds

This is a guest post originally written by Robin W. Smith for the SmithEnvironment Blog. Smith is a lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in environmental law and policy. Before starting a private environmental law and consulting firm in 2013,  Smith served as Assistant Secretary for Environment at the North Carolina Department of [...]

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Mismanagement: The Solution to Pollution is NOT Dilution

Today, as expected, the Governor and his Cabinet unanimously approved the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) plan to add more water to the cooling canal system at Turkey Point, operated by Florida Power and Light (FPL). (See Siting Board agenda here, Item 2.) By approving the modification of the Power Plant Siting Act, it effectively allows FPL to legally add more water to continue the purging of pollution into the surrounding area. This is an unlined, antiquated cooling system on top of porous limestone on the shores of Biscayne National Park.

Coal Ash Gets Its Day In Court

As predicted in our last blog post on the Dan River coal ash disaster, the repercussions of this tragic event continue to make daily news. While environmental and community advocacy groups have been warning about the dangers of coal ash impoundments for years, it has taken another coal ash catastrophe to spur the State of [...]

Dan River Disaster Recap Timeline

Having trouble keeping track of all the developments since the Dan River disaster began over a month ago? We continue to be amazed that the coal ash spill and subsequent developments have been in the news almost every day. This story has more twists and turns than the Dan River itself; sparking significant public outcry, [...]

Dan River spill spurs major ash clean up orders

Over a month has passed since a broken stormwater pipe under coal ash lagoons at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River power station began spewing 140,000 tons of toxic waste into the Dan River*. The nation’s 3rd largest coal ash disaster has been fraught with scandal and news about the intimate relationship between Duke Energy and NC Department [...]