Monday, October 5, 2009

Coal ash

Watched the 60 Minutes segment about coal ash. If you read this blog you'll know that I almost always do a bit of research into such things as this is up my alley as they say. The primary focus in the story was the sludge spill in Tennessee. So here you have the second largest waste stream in the U.S. (I refer to all coal ash generated in the U.S.) that contains heavy metals, arsenic and radioactive elements. Some areas have "cleaner" coals than others but Tennessee has among the dirtiest with higher levels of contaminants than other parts of the country. And what is their plan to "clean" up the toxic sludge? They're going to ship it all the way to Alabama. Why Alabama you might ask? Because Alabama has no rules what so ever for coal ash. I went a little further in checking out the reports from Alabama. They have no rules on coal ash but they're still covered by the EPA about rules for dams. In their report they noted that some of their dams were at risk but by reading the report you'd think that they had no problems at all. You know, lying with statistics. The two things I found interesting in their report was that there was no mention as to even an estimate as to how much material they have contained and much of the information was redacted blacked out. I understand companies are allowed to ommit information that may give company secrets but this had nothing to do with that.
Now the power companies say it's too expensive to do the right thing and send the coal ash to a land fill but had they ever thought about loading the empty coal cars with the ash and sending it back to be buried in the mine? That would kill so many birds with one stone to coin a phrase. The power company gets rid of its' waste. The railroad gets a return load rather than going empty. The mine gets to fill its' empty shafts preventing subsidence. The waste is safely stored underground and not poisoning our rivers, wells and land. Sounds like a win win win situation to me.

11 comments:

Bustednuckles said...

That just makes too much sense though.

Bastards.

Tom Harper said...

That's exactly it, it makes too much sense. We don't like them commie "win win" situations.

S.W. Anderson said...

LOL, there's nothing to say but ditto the above.

MRMacrum said...

Yeah but................ uh nevermind.

Randal Graves said...

C'mon. Make giant mounds out the stuff and build a surrounding theme park and sell Chinese-made souvenirs and corn dogs.

Holte Ender said...

The majority of coal mines in the US are open cast, or surface mines, especially the high production mines. The old style sink a shaft and bore a tunnel mine are mainly east of the Mississippi in the old coal mining areas of Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. There are probably some abandoned or used up colliery in that region that could do what you suggest. All the big producing mines are in Wyoming, all open cast.

Demeur said...

Holte I used to live back there. There's a ton of shaft mines with plenty of room. That was the prefered method until the late sixties.

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