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Groundwater Contamination at Four Coal Sites

Groundwater Contamination at Four Coal Sites
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(File) Choctaw Generation Limited Partnership - Red Hills Operations

A new report on toxic coal ash pollution shows groundwater contamination at four Mississippi sites. As MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports one site in South Mississippi ranks ninth worst in the U.S. for coal contamination.

The groundwater around the R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station in Purvis is contaminated with pollutants including arsenic, lithium, and molybdenum. That's according to a study from the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice. The majority of the groundwater -- from the plants in this report -- is contaminated with four or more toxic chemicals says Lisa Evans with Earthjustice. The nonprofit law organization works to preserve natural areas and to protect people's health and the environment.

"Groundwater by its nature never stands still," said Evans. "And this contamination is moving off-site perhaps to a stream, perhaps to a lake. Where it may not impact directly human health but it may impact the aquatic life, the fish in that stream. It might ruin water for agricultural purposes."

The three other coal contaminated sites in Mississippi are the Choctaw Generation Limited Facility in Ackerman, Plant Watson in Gulfport and Plant Victor Daniel in Escatawpa. Evans says there are steps that people living next to these plants can take to ensure the safety of their families.

"People in rural communities or people living next to these plants should have their water tested," said Evans. "That often is an expensive proposition. So they should pressure their local public health department with their concerns. They could pressure the industry that created the pollution in the first place to test their public wells."

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says they haven't had a chance to thoroughly research the report's findings to compare it to the data they already have on file.