A 10/14/12 Washington Post article examines the issue of disposal of an estimated 140 million tons of coal ash (the solid material remaining after coal combustion) from 431 coal-fired power plants in the United States. According to the Post article, about 40 percent of the ash produced is used in products such as concrete or wallboard, but the rest is stored in landfills, ponds, or mines. The stored ash has in some cases resulted in water contamination, and these incidents have led to consideration by the U.S. EPA of stricter regulation on coal ash disposal. The article examines the history and current status of this issue.
Source: Coal ash decision stymied in election year, Washington Post, 10/14/12.
For a Virginia example of coal-ash disposal case in Virginia, please see the Water Central News Grouper item, Update (as of February 2012) on Lawsuit over Use of Coal-combustion Fly Ash for Golf Course in City of Chesapeake, Va., posted 3/22/12.