March 13, 2009

More Trouble for Santee Cooper over Coal Ash

From the Myrtle Beach Sun News:

Revelations about Santee Cooper's use of coal ash on an unpaved road near St. Stephen raise concerns about the utility's handling of environmentally sensitive issues. The utility's proposed Florence County coal-fired generating plant is already under assault for its prospective environmental effects, of which coal-ash storage and handling is one.

The Associated Press reports that Santee Cooper used 425 tons of coal ash from the Jefferies Station plant near Bonneau and put the ash on unpaved Tobacco Road near St. Stephen. Internal documents of Santee Cooper were obtained by The Post and Courier of Charleston, using the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.

The documents reveal tests of the ash showing it contained traces of arsenic, barium, lead and selenium. One test, simulating the effects of water on ash in the ground, showed the ash leached arsenic concentrations of 145 parts per billion - nearly 15 times the Environmental Protection Agency's level for safe drinking water.

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