Chemical contamination from 7 Colorado coal-fired power plants found during groundwater monitoring
Report finds cases much worse in other states
When Platte River Power Authority checked the groundwater near its Rawhide power plant for coal-ash contamination last year, it found some. Levels of selenium, which can cause human hair loss and deformities in fish and wildlife, were higher than deemed safe by federal groundwater protection standards.
The authority, which released the Rawhide report in January, was already working to reduce the potential for contamination at its Larimer County site. But the statistically significant increase was a surprise, said Chris Wood, Platte River’s environmental services manager.
“The short answer is Platte River Power Authority sees no immediate harm or risk to human health or the environment,” Wood said. “…We’ve monitored it in the past, and it was never an issue. It’s not a big change, but big enough change statistically that it’s pulled us into the regulatory process. The next steps are to continue to monitor and evaluate the different corrective actions.”
Since federal regulations kicked in a few years ago, coal-fired power plants are required to monitor and publicly report what happens to the residue from burning coal and determine whether chemicals are seeping from the coal-ash disposal sites into the groundwater.
Support Local Journalism
But the reporting process is inconsistent between facilities and the data collected is often complicated to interpret. So a group of environmentalists culled the data from 265 coal-fired power plants or ash dumps, including seven in Colorado, and found 91 percent had unsafe levels of one or more chemicals in nearby groundwater.
Read the full story via The Colorado Sun.
The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at coloradosun.com.
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Vail, Beaver Creek and Eagle Valley make the Vail Daily’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.