Coal power plants create, on average, 130 million tons of waste annually. Much of this waste consists of fly ash, which is pumped into reservoirs where the ash is combined with water to create a viscose slurry. Eventually, the water drains into another reservoir where it sits permanently. These ponds can dry up which allows the dry ash slurry to be blown around by winds. The dry ash settles in ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams, which puts toxic metals and chemicals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury into water sources. Also, the stagnant pools can eventually seep into aquifers which contaminates the groundwater with the same aforementioned toxic metals.
There is no drinking water source, below or above ground, that’s safe from coal plant pollution. Even worse, fly ash settlement reservoirs are nearly unrestricted which means little is being done in the way of preventing drinking water contamination.
I would guess that your community’s drinking water source will eventually become contaminated with at least trace levels of toxic contaminants. I have no idea how long that will take or how severe the contamination will be, that depends on the proximity of the coal plant to the water source and the coal company’s commitment to protecting water supplies.
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