Click to view our coal ash map

Behind Illinois’ coal-fired power plants lies a dirty secret: coal ash, the solid byproduct that is left over after coal is burned for electricity. Coal ash is full of heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, selenium, chromium and cadmium, which can cause cancer and brain damage in humans and are harmful to fish and wildlife.

Check out our COAL ASH MAP and see if there is a toxic coal ash dump near you.

The Problem: Coal Ash Dumps Leaking into our Waters

Shockingly, there are fewer safeguards on coal ash disposal than household garbage. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that with coal-fired power plants and industries in Illinois generating 4.4 million tons of coal ash each year in addition to coal ash imports from at least 6 other states, Illinois leads the nation in coal ash damage cases. Since 2009, Illinois EPA has found groundwater contamination from coal ash pollution at every site investigated – that’s 22 out of 24 coal-fired power plants!

Read about the threat of coal ash to the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River from the Dynegy coal ash pits.

The Solution: Better Laws for Coal Ash Disposal

For these reasons, Prairie Rivers Network is working to empower local residents to let decision makers know that Illinois communities support commonsense, federally enforceable safeguards to protect our land and water from coal ash pollution. We are also working to stop coal ash pollution in individual communities by appealing permits, and forcing power plants to comply with the law and protect clean water by phasing out dangerous coal ash ponds and requiring coal companies to switch to safer coal ash disposal methods.

Water & Energy Priorities

Dynegy Vermilion

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