The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) will host an online public hearing at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 on Georgia Power’s proposed plan for toxic coal ash located at Plant Bowen.
EPD released the draft permit on Sept. 14 for Ash Pond-1 (AP-1), which initiates a 60-day comment period that ends on Nov. 15. Comments will be accepted both at the virtual hearing and via email to [email protected], with the subject line “Plant Bowen AP-1 CCR Permit.”
The EPD permitting process determines how Georgia Power must deal with the pollution left over from decades of burning coal at its plants throughout the state. Coal ash is the toxic residual waste created by burning coal, which is then mixed with water and dumped into giant pits. Coal ash contains some of the most toxic materials on earth, like arsenic, mercury, chromium, beryllium, and radium. These toxins can poison water and cause significant health complications like cancer, reproductive issues, and heart problems.
Although Georgia Power plans to install a liner at Bowen AP-1, underneath AP-1 lies unstable karst terrain, which is prone to sinkholes and underground caves. Expert analysis shows that a liner will likely not protect ground and surface water from coal ash contamination if another sinkhole develops.
In 2002, a four acre-wide sinkhole formed under Plant Bowen and released 2.25 million gallons of coal ash into Euharlee Creek. This spill resulted in arsenic levels rising to 1250 parts per billion, exceeding...
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