New US EPA regulations mean big changes for CWLP

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SPRINGFIELD – New federal regulations implemented last month means Springfield's City, Water, Light and Power is on a deadline to make some major changes.

On Tuesday, November 3, a group of residents and environmentalists gathered outside the City Council chamber before the 5:30 PM meeting, urging aldermen to start making plans on how to handle these changes sooner rather than later.

A member of the Sangamon Valley chapter of Sierra Club told WAND News one of the biggest issues is how CWLP disposes coal ash, a byproduct of the coal-burning power plant.

"Currently CWLP is storing this coal ash in unlined ponds at the Dallman coal-fired power plant in Springfield" said Al Pieper, who spoke during Tuesday's press conference outside Municipal Center West.

"The EPA has measured unsafe levels of metals like arsenic, manganese, iron, boron and sulfate in the groundwater beneath these ash ponds" Pieper continued.

The group says the US EPA's own Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) tool shows the Dallman plant has violated its Clean Water Act permit limits several times since April 2012. The new federal EPA regulations that went into effect in October require coal ash impoundments that are unlined and have documented and dangerous groundwater impact must close.

Dallman coal plant's ash ponds meet both these criteria.

Sierra Club and other environmental groups want City Council members to begin by informing residents of these facts and outlining plans while getting public feedback on options. Under the new federal coal ash rules, decisions on how to close these unlined coal ash ponds need to be made as soon as next year.

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