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Report: Lead, Heavy Metals Threaten SD Water

August 30, 2010

MILBANK, S.D. - The Big Stone coal ash landfill near Milbank is leaching dangerous metals into underlying ground water, according to a new report that details coal combustion waste sites in 21 states. The report, jointly authored by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, was released just as public hearings across the country begin this week on proposed new rules on coal ash disposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Lisa Evans, senior administrative counsel for Earthjusticeand a co-author of the report, says the document brings the total number of toxic coal ash contamination cases to more than 100. To date, the EPA has acknowledged 67 cases.

"EPA had never made a concerted effort to find damage-case sites, and EPA would admit that this is true. Environmental groups ten years ago had to bring the original set of damage cases to EPA. It did very little of its own research."

The EPA is holding seven public hearings around the country between now and the end of September. The closest hearing to South Dakota is this week in Denver, on September 2. Evans says people are going to turn out for the meetings.

"We believe that at all these hearings, there are going to be concerned citizens wondering what impact the coal ash landfills or ponds near their house is having on their drinking water."

The groups fault state agencies for not making the power companies involved clean up the contamination.

The full report is at:

Dick Layman, Public News Service - SD