Learn How to Monitor Coal Ash Permits from Home
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Join us in January for the Citizen Coal Ash Permit Monitoring Workshop
Coal ash is dumped all over West Virginia, wherever there is a coal-fired power plant. After the coal burns, the ash has to be disposed of. That means it is trucked o a dump site, where groundwater and rain cause water to low through and out of ash ponds.
Coal ash contains many toxics. Each outflow from an ash pond is regulated with a permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). The permit states the maximum allowable discharge of a range of pollutants, such as arsenic and lead.
The ash pond operators are required to file “discharge monitoring reports,” documenting the actual amounts of the pollutants they discharge. But here’s the catch: Sometimes nobody looks at these reports! They go into a file at WVDEP. It is entirely possible that the reports show violations of the permits, but if nobody looks at them, then clearly violations can go unnoticed with no enforcement.
This is exactly what happened at Mon Power’s Albright power plant. Folks doing some research on another issue stumbled upon serious violations of arsenic discharges. Subsequently this led to major enforcement action that would not have happened if left to the WVDEP.
That’s where you can help. With a little simple basic raining, you can learn how to obtain the discharge reports and review them for violations. All of that can be done online at home once you learn the basics. It’s one way of “holding polluters’ feet to the fire,” to make sure they are not putting excessive toxics into our streams.
West Virginia Sierra Club is holding two workshops to earn how to review ash pond discharge reports. Our “instructor” is Mike Becher of Appalachian Mountain Advocates. Pick the one most convenient for you. We’ll spend a Saturday morning on the simple basic skills, and when you leave you will be ready to become a citizen coal ash permit monitor – a.k.a. member of the Order of Ash Kickers!
For questions, or to register for one of the workshops, contact Jim Sconyers, firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-698-9628.
Workshop Program & Workshop dates— participants choose one:
Charleston - January 5, 2013, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
WV Citizen Action Group office1500 Dixie Street
Morgantown - January 12, 2013, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Downstream Strategies office: 295 High Street #3
9:30 AM Coffee
10:00–10:15 Welcome, Workshop Purpose and Goals
10:15–12:15 How To Monitor Permits
12:15–12:30 Q & A, Wrap-Up