Tag Archives: Juliette

Plant Scherer coal ash maybe related to uranium in well water

Uranium has been found in well water near Juliette, Georgia, but tests by several different groups of researchers differ on whether it might be related to nearby coal ash from Plant Scherer. The same coal ash ponds near which some people are getting cancer from uranium in their well water. Coal ash like we have in Veolia landfill in Lowndes County.

S. Heather Duncan wrote for Macon.com yesterday, New water test results shed light on Juliette contamination,

Many Juliette residents have expressed concern that a coal ash pond at Plant Scherer, one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the country, might be causing the problem. Georgia Power is majority owner and operator of the plant and its 750-acre, unlined pond filled with coal ash slurry, which can contain heavy metals such as uranium….

Since then, water samples tested by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as a smaller group of samples tested by a group of University of Georgia graduate students, showed no pattern of contamination that could be clearly linked to groundwater flow from the coal ash pond. The samples were taken last year, but in some cases it took months for the samples to be analyzed….

On the other hand,

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Coal ash at Plant Scherer considered harmful for your health

Penny-wise, pound foolish, that's coal and coal ash, we're all discovering.

S. Heather Duncan wrote for the Macon Telegraph 14 April 2012, Plant Scherer ash pond worries neighbors as Georgia Power buys, levels homes,

The home among the trees was supposed to be Mark Goolsby's inheritance. His 78-year-old mother now lives in the large, white, wood farmhouse that his family built before the Civil War.

But Goolsby says he'll never live there now.

That's because across the street and through those trees is one of the largest coal ash ponds in the country. It belongs to Plant Scherer, a coal-fired plant that came to the neighborhood considerably later than the Goolsby family. In the mid-1970s, Goolsby said, “when (Georgia Power) bought 350 acres from my dad, they told him we'd never know they were there.”

Those acres are now part of an unlined pond where Georgia Power deposits about 1,000 pounds of toxic coal ash a day. Neither federal nor Georgia rules require groundwater monitoring around the pond. The federal Toxic Release Inventory shows that in 2010 alone, the pond received ash containing thousands of pounds of heavy metals and radioactive compounds including arsenic, vanadium, and chromium.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 1 in 50 residents nationally who live near ash ponds could get cancer from the arsenic leaking into wells. The EPA also predicts that unlined ash ponds can increase other health risks, such as damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system, from contaminants such as lead.

A massive 2008 spill from a Tennessee coal ash pond led to greater scrutiny of the dams that hold these ponds in place, and the EPA promised new rules for storing coal ash. The process led to broader awareness of a more long-term health threat: groundwater contamination from the ponds.

So what's Georgia Power's solution?

Monroe County property records show Georgia Power has spent about $1.1 million buying property near Plant Scherer between 2008 and the end of 2010. But the true number may be higher.

They're going to have to keep doing that until they buy up a lot more property, I predict.

Wouldn't it be cheaper for the future bottom line of Georgia Power and its parent the Southern Company to invest in solar and wind power?