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October 17, 2016

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s (EPD) formal draft rule for how coal ash will be stored in Georgia will be voted on by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Board of Directors on October 26, 2016. These rules do not adequately address coal ash stored in the more than 45 Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfills across Georgia and fail to properly protect our groundwater.

Coal ash is the waste left over from burning coal in power plants to produce electricity, and it contains toxic heavy metals like mercury, lead, and many other harmful chemicals and carcinogens. Coal ash also contains radioactive materials that become more dangerous as quantities of coal ash are concentrated in one location. Georgia’s MSW landfills were NOT designed to store large quantities of coal ash, and EPD’s current rule won’t require adequate monitoring for pollutants in groundwater.

Power companies are looking to dump coal ask in MSW landfills to avoid state and federal regulations. Because the EPD rules do not apply equally to MSW landfills, dumping coal ash in MSW landfills in Georgia instead of building new, adequate facilities has become an attractive option. Unfortunately, much of this coal ash is being moved to landfills in small, rural communities. While lined landfills are much better storage facilities for coal ash, the quantity being moved into these small landfills is staggering and in certain places is a threat to ground and surface water.


To ensure that coal ash is stored safely across Georgia, the members of the DNR Board need to remove the exemption for MSW landfills from the EPD rules and require monitoring of drinking wells within a one-half mile radius of landfills and coal ash pits storing coal ash.

Action Needed:

The members of the DNR Board need to hear from you about your concerns regarding the storage of large quantities of coal ash in less-regulated MSW landfills. Please email them your thoughts today!

Take action by October 20.screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-3-02-59-pm

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