"Effects of Coal Ash Contamination Go Beyond Health Risks"

"When environmental watchdogs in Iowa point out the dangers associated with coal ash disposal, the focus of their fear is usually the health risks associated with contaminated groundwater.

Because Iowa allows certain sites to act as coal ash disposal sites without installing protective liners and without groundwater monitoring wells, the worry is that heavy metals in the ash will leach out and poison groundwater streams and aquifers. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report released earlier this year found cancer risks to be much higher for those living near unlined coal ash disposal sites than typically accepted.

But as the federal government weighs stricter rules governing the disposal of coal ash, and as awareness of the potential dangers in Iowa continues to increase, it is important to note that while health risks are a major concern, there are many others that must be considered."

Jason Hancock reports for the Iowa Independent November 12, 2009.

Source: Iowa Independent, 11/13/2009