I’ve quickly been getting these images processed and out to the groups that need them to help educate the public about this disaster. It really disturbing how some, even geologists, are taking the stance that coal fly ash is not toxic or even hazardous. They are even saying that the enormous spill poses no threat to the environment. I really cannot understand these viewpoints. What about the 400+ acres of land and water that are now under millions of tons of coal fly ash sludge? Even if it was not toxic this land and the people that live here are now changed forever. The wildlife and aquatic life in and around the spill area will be affected for generations.
Appalachian State University has released preliminary independent tests finding high levels of toxic chemicals in the Harriman/Kingston Fossil Plant fly ash deposits. According to the tests, arsenic levels from the Kingston power plant intake canal tested at close to 300 times the allowable amounts in drinking water, while a sample from two miles downstream still revealed arsenic at approximately 30 times the allowed limits. Lead was present at between twice to 21 times the legal drinking water limits, and thallium levels tested at three to four times the allowable amounts. All water samples were found to contain elevated levels of arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel and thallium. The samples were taken from the immediate area of the coal waste spill, in front of the Kingston Fossil plant intake canal just downstream from the spill site, and at a power line crossing two miles downstream from the spill. Dr. Carol Babyak, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Appalachian State University stated, “I have never seen levels of arsenic, lead and copper this high in natural waters.” These test findings should silence those that make those ridiculous statements of “coal fly ash is not toxic”!
Here are a few of the photographs that I took around the site one week ago.