SPRINGFIELD — Sierra Club and others express concern to City Utilities about the effect of coal ash on drinking water.
Members of multiple environmental groups are concerned about the effect of a coal ash landfill on water quality.
That landfill is owned by City Utilities.
The concern among Sierra Club and others is that the coal ash landfill at CU’s John Twitty Energy Center may be causing hazardous materials to seep into streams and creeks.
This is due to our regions’ Karst topography. It is the porous limestone under our surface in the Ozarks.
This raises concerns about toxins like lead, mercury, and arsenic getting into our drinking water.
Judy Dasovich represented the Sierra Club’s White River Group today before CU’s Board.
“We want City utilities to shut down this dangerous landfill now,” Dasovich says. “There is a very good chance based on our karst topography, there is leaking from the toxic coal ash from the landfill to our drinking water.”
Roddy Rogers is the Manager of Water Resources Projects for City Utilities, and he says the ash it is unlikely that the toxins from the coal ash are getting into the water system because it the ash is solid, and has no flowability.
“Ours is dry. it’s compacted, it is solid, it stays in place. It is encapsulated on top,” Rodgers says.
Rogers says they are able to keep track of water quality through a groundwater monitoring system, but it’s been awhile since that has been done.
“We did monitor the ground water I think five to seven years ago,” Rogers explains. “It has been quite awhile. We found nothing of concern and DNR allowed us to not do that anymore.”
Changes made by the Department of Natural Resources say that CU must implement a new groundwater monitoring system.
Dasovich says that DNR shares just as much concern as she does. She shares a statement from DNR from about a year ago.
“Further operation of this landfill could easily be harmful to protection of the groundwater in that portion of Greene County,'” Dasovich says, quoting DNR.
Rogers says that CU has done what it can to address a new monitoring system.
“We have spent $2.5 Million on a ground water monitoring system,” Rogers says. “We put wells upstream and wells downstream and take samples from both of them to see how they compare. We believe that we do have an effective monitoring system.”
Dasovich disagrees with the that.
“They don’t have an effective monitoring system. Their own dye traces have proven that,” says Dasovich. “They put the dye in near the wells, the wells do not pick it up. Yet just downstream at Wilson’s creek, Rader springs, it is picked up in very high concentrations.”
Rogers says while they are looking at using other renewable energy sources, but it wants to serve its customers.
“I’m sure they would like us to close down our plant immediately, and we have to provide service for our customers,” Rogers says.