|Data can be found in the CCR RULE COMPLIANCE DATA tab
|October 14, 2022
|What are the data
in this spreadsheet?
|Beginning in 2018, coal-fired electric utilities were compelled to publicly report extensive groundwater monitoring and compliance data, following transparency requirements imposed by 2015 federal coal ash regulations, known formally as the Coal Combustion Residuals Rule or “CCR Rule.” The protections were the result of more than a decade of litigation by Earthjustice, on behalf of our clients and alongside our partners, and are the first-ever federal safeguards against coal ash pollution.
Much of industry’s disclosure of the data has been in abstruse and non-standard formats, and occasionally the data are very hard to find, despite the CCR Rule’s requirement that the information be publicly accessible. Some utilities fail to post the required information entirely or conceal it behind sign-in walls to prevent search engines from locating the disclosures.
In 2022, legal and technical experts from Earthjustice have located and analyzed the data disclosures and updated this original database, posted in 2019.
|About the data
|Most data included on the map are found in industry disclosures posted on individual owner/operator websites. Starting with the column "Did EPA Identify The Pond as Close To or In Groundwater?," outside data sources were used, as explained in the Definitions tab of this spreadsheet. The publicly available owner/operator websites, entitled “CCR Rule Compliance Data and Information,” are mandated by the 2015 CCR Rule so that the public, as well as state and federal regulators, can determine an owner/operator’s compliance with the requirements of the Rule.
The 2015 CCR Rule contained a loophole exempting from any protections the “legacy” coal ash ponds located at retired power plants that closed before the effective date of the Rule (October 2015). These "legacy" ponds are not included in the data. In addition, landfills that stopped receiving waste prior to the effective date of the Rule are exempted and thus not captured in this database. Finally, some utilities are avoiding site-wide cleanup by claiming that certain CCR dumps on site do not fit the definition of a CCR unit in the 2015 Rule. Such units are not captured in this database, and so this database represents the minimum possible CCR units regulated by the 2015 Rule.
To the best of our knowledge, neither U.S. EPA nor any other entity has attempted to collect, review, and make public this information comprehensively. By providing these data, we are not confirming that the industry disclosures and documents are compliant with the CCR Rule or contain true, accurate, current, and complete information. In addition, while these data are the result of careful review of thousands of documents, we appreciate any information about data that may be out of date, or other errors and omissions. IMPORTANT NOTE: All of the information in this spreadsheet was reviewed in the first half of 2022, which includes documents up through 2020 for some sites and through 2021 for others. Visit owner/operator websites to confirm any information provided. Please submit updates or questions to https://earthjustice.org/coalash/inquiry
The spreadsheet is published under a Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike - Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0
|About coal ash
|Coal ash, the toxic remains of coal burning in power plants, contains a hazardous brew of toxic pollutants including arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, lead, radium, selenium, and more. The toxics in coal ash can cause cancer, heart disease, reproductive failure, and stroke, and can inflict lasting brain damage on children.
For decades, utilities have disposed of coal ash dangerously, dumping it in unlined ponds and landfills where the toxins leak into groundwater. According to industry’s own data, more than 95% of the coal ash ponds in the U.S. are unlined, and almost all of them are contaminating groundwater with toxins above levels that U.S. EPA deems safe for drinking water.
Learn more at: https://earthjustice.org/coalash
|Please contact us at https://earthjustice.org/coalash/inquiry
|Thank you for reading!
If you use this data, please let us know: https://earthjustice.org/coalash/inquiry