EPA Names Locations of Hazardous Coal Ash Ponds

Under pressure from Congress and environmental groups, the US Environmental Protection Agency has released the locations of the 44 hazardous coal ash ponds its identified around the country. The Allegheny Front's Lisa Ann Pinkerton reports only one impoundment is in Pennsylvania.

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OPEN: Under pressure from Congress and environmental groups, the US Environmental Protection Agency has released the locations of the 44 hazardous coal ash ponds its identified around the country. The Allegheny Front's Lisa Ann Pinkerton reports only one impoundment is in Pennsylvania.

EPA says it will visit each of the 44 "high hazard" coal ash ponds in its list. North Carolina tops the list with 12 hazardous impoundments, Arizona's next with 10, Kentucky has 7, Ohio 6 and West Virginia 4.
Pennsylvania has one coal ash pond that could cause a loss of life if its dam were to fail. It's in Shippingport 36 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The facility is known as Little Blue Run. It covers seven hundred and seventy acres, and is four hundred feet deep.

In Pennsylvania, dams that could harm downstream populations are inspected twice a year. After the dam failure in Tennessee last December, Little Blue Run was inspected along with the state's 41 other coal ash dams. Now that EPA plans to pay a visit, DEP spokesman Tom Rathbun says Little Blue Run and its dam will have been thoroughly gone over for any problems.

RATHBUN: Now the company is still on the hook to do their regularly scheduled inspections and the DEP will inspect it as well, so really by the end of this year, that dam will have received 5 complete inspections by a certified engineer and by DEP.

Its not clear when EPA will visit Little Blue Run or when it will finish inspecting all the sites on its list. Some environmental groups say the list is still incomplete, because it was based on self-assessments done by the owners of the nation's coal ash impoundments.

For the Allegheny Front, I'm Lisa Ann Pinkerton.