"EPA is investigating closure plans for more than 160 unlined lagoons filled with sludge left over from burning coal that could possibly leach toxic pollutants into groundwater, according to a document obtained by E&E News.
The EPA list — showing facilities from Arizona to New York — raises concerns about contamination of nearby waterways and drinking water supplies and provides a window into the agency’s ongoing crackdown on coal ash, one of the largest sources of water contamination in the country. Coal ash contains contaminants like mercury, cadmium and cancer-causing arsenic.
EPA in January said such ponds or impoundments, as well as landfills, cannot close if coal ash is in contact with groundwater, a requirement that’s meant to protect nearby communities.
When asked about the spreadsheet, EPA said it developed the list to “initiate conversations” with states on the closure plans for the impoundments but stressed more work needs to be done to confirm the ponds are directly exposed to groundwater."