I-TEAM: Federal lawsuit alleges coal ash polluting river


Oakwood, Ill (WAND) – An Illinois environmental group is filing a civil lawsuit in federal court against Dynegy alleging the companies shuttered Vermilion Power Station is leaching toxic coal ash into the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River.

On Tuesday of this week the WAND TV News I-TEAM recorded video of what appears to be coal ash seeping into the Middle Fork along a 150-to-200-foot stretch of shoreline.  The Prairies Rivers Network, which filed the suit, tells the I-TEAM it believes the coal ash is coming from coal ash storage pits located on the power plant property.

Dynegy did not respond to a WAND News request for comment on the suit.  The power plant has been closed since 2011.  At one time it was owned by the old Decatur based Illinois Power Company.

The suit alleges Dynegy is violating the Clean Water Act.  Prairie River Networks contends the power plant operators dumped coal ash into unlined pits along the river.  Those pits also sit on a flood plain.

The Prairie Rivers Network says the Middle Fork is home to the American bald eagle, river otters, rare endangered mussels and 20 threatened or endangered species.

The Middle Fork is the only designated National Scenic River in the state of Illinois.

(Pictured: The Vermilion Power Station owned by Dynegy.)

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