Northeastern Station Bottom Ash Pond

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Northeastern Station Bottom Ash Pond is a coal ash disposal site associated with Northeastern Station, owned and operated by American Electric Power subsidiary Public Service Company of Oklahoma near Oologah, Oklahoma.

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Site data

Information below derived from EPA's Coal Ash Survey database;[1] GPS coordinates courtesy of Earthjustice researchers.

  • Owner: Public Service Company of Oklahoma
  • Parent company: American Electric Power
  • Associated coal plant: Northeastern Station
  • Location: Oologah, OK
  • GPS coordinates: 36.4300, -95.7000
  • Hazard potential: Low
  • Year commissioned: 1980
  • Year(s) expanded: 1981
  • Material(s) stored: Bottom ash
  • Professional Engineer (PE) designed?: No
  • PE constructed?: No
  • PE monitored?: No
  • Significant deficiencies identified: None
  • Corrective measures: None
  • Surface area (acres): 69
  • Storage capacity (acre feet): 700
  • Unit Height (feet): 8
  • Historical releases: None
  • Additional notes:

Coal waste in the United States

A January 2009 study by The New York Times following the enormous TVA coal ash spill found that there are more than 1,300 surface impoundments across the U.S. containing coal waste, with some sites as large as 1,500 acres.[2] Also in January 2009, an Associated Press study found that 156 coal-fired power plants store ash in surface ponds similar to the one that ruptured at Kingston Fossil Plant. The states with the most storage in coal ash in ponds are Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama. The AP's analysis found that in 2005, 721 power plants generating at least 100 MW of electricity produced 95.8 million tons of coal ash, about 20 percent of which - or almost 20 million tons - ended up in surface ponds. The rest of the ash winds up in landfills or is sold for other uses.[3] In June 2009, EPA released its list of 44 "high hazard potential" coal waste sites, which included 12 sites in North Carolina, 9 in Arizona, 6 in Kentucky, 6 in Ohio, and 4 in West Virginia.[4] The full list is available here.

Study finds dangerous level of hexavalent chromium at Northeastern Station's coal waste site

The study "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash," released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011, reported that the level of hexavalent chromium, a highly potent cancer-causing chemical, at a coal ash site associated with the Asheville Plant was 83 parts per billion.[5] That level is 4,150 times as high as California's drinking water goal, and 66% above North Carolina's groundwater standard. In all, the study cited 29 sites in 17 states where hexavalent chromium contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash as well as from studies by EarthJustice, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Sierra Club.[6][7][8][9] It included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin. In Oklahoma, the Northeastern Station in Oologah was reported as having high levels of chromium seeping into groundwater.[5]

According to the report, the electric power industry is the leading source of chromium and chromium compounds released into the environment, representing 24 percent of releases by all industries in 2009.[5]

A press release about the report read:

Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.[10]

Citizen groups

Resources

References

  1. Coal Ash Survey Results, Environmental Protection Agency, accessed December 2009.
  2. Shaila Dewan, "Hundreds of Coal Ash Dumps Lack Regulation," New York Times, January 7, 2009.
  3. Dina Cappiello, "Toxic Coal Ash Piling up in Ponds in 32 States," Associated Press, January 9, 2009.
  4. Shaila Dewan, "E.P.A. Lists ‘High Hazard’ Coal Ash Dumps," New York Times, June 30, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash" Earthjustice & Sierra Club, February 1, 2011.
  6. "Damage Case Report for Coal Compustion Wastes," August 2008
  7. U.S. EPA Proposed Coal Ash Rule, 75 Fed. Reg. 35128
  8. EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," August 2010
  9. EarthJustice and Environmental Integrity Project, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites," May 2010
  10. "Coal ash waste tied to cancer-causing chemicals in water supplies" Alicia Bayer, Examiner.com, February 1, 2011.

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