Coal-fired generation plants generate significant amounts of wastewater, particularly (and ironically) if they use scrubbing systems to reduce air pollution. Waste discharge from coal plants contains barium, arsenic, boron, manganese and other chemicals that can cause serious health problems. While there are few US federal regulations that limit the discharge of wastewater from coal plants into waterways, even operators that voluntarily try to alleviate these concerns may still be point sources of pollution, as landfills and other disposal sources of contaminated wastewater may still leach into groundwater. Thermal pollution–changes in temperature in waterways that adversely impact marine ecosystems–are also associated with coal plants.
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