It can be groundwater pollution, soil pollution, river pollution, the list goes on. It is the toxic byproduct of burning coal — what is left after the coal is burned. It is ash, so it can pollute groundwater and leach into the ground. Ponds and lakes near coal plants often have high levels of toxic chemicals from coal ash that has polluted them. In some cases the coal ash is stored wet as sludge in landfills. This is what happened in the coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2009, and it destroyed a lot of property and water sources.
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