In Bay City, where the state’s largest electricity provider, Consumer’s Power, has its Karn-Weadock coal-fired plant, and where it has applied to build an additional coal power plant, seepage from an ash dump has contaminated the nearby Saginaw Bay.
According to the Bay City Times, the pollution only became widely known in fall of 2008, when an environmental group researching Consumers Energy’s plans for a new plant discovered state DEQ records detailing seepage of arsenic, boron and lithium in excess of state standards.
Saginaw DEQ officials were unavailable to speak with Michigan Messenger.
Terry L. Walkington, supervisor of the DEQ Waste and Hazardous Materials Division in Bay City recently told the Bay City Times that mercury, a toxin that is bioaccumulative and affects brain development, has been found outside the landfill at levels that exceed state standards.
As in Lansing, power company officials in Bay City plan a multimillion-dollar slurry wall around the dump to limit seepage of toxins.
Sprague of the Sierra Club said that the migration of toxins from coal ash dumps should be considered as the state evaluates the several pending proposals for new coal plants.
“All the ‘clean coal’ rhetoric means is taking pollutants from the air stream and putting pollutants in the landfill where there is a greater chance for pollutants to leach into water,” Sprague said.
“We don’t need coal to live. We do need water. For the short-term use of coal we are threatening essential resources.”
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