The Clean Water Blog

Sprinkler at a coal ash disposal site. Photo credit: bibiphoto / Shutterstock

Virginia Gives Dominion a Free Pass to Pollute

In January the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) issued Dominion Power two permits to drain over 300 million gallons of toxic coal ash wastewater into the Potomac and James River. The permits were granted despite the fact that untreated and unpermitted coal ash waste water has already contaminated local ground water and tributaries, like Quanitico Creek.

Virginia’s laws governing coal ash disposal are weak – household garbage is better regulated - and these controversial permits put Virginia at odds with local communities like Prince William County and neighboring states like Maryland. Virginia's regulations have allowed unlined, unstable and unmonitored coal ash dumps to put our rivers and drinking water sources at risk.

Although documented coal ash contamination has occurred at eight sites, VDEQ does not require consistent monitoring of water supplies near coal ash dumps. Despite the abundant evidence of spills, contamination and unsafe dams, VDEQ has allowed Dominion to dump additional coal ash waste into our water ways and leave the remaining waste buried next to the Potomac and James Rivers.

Instead of allowing Dominion to “cap-in-place” coal ash waste, leaving future generations the task of clean up, VDEQ should require treatment of coal ash waste water pollutants to below toxic levels, and transport the dry, leftover ash to properly constructed, lined facilities located away from rivers and streams.

Help Protect the Potomac and James Rivers for Toxic Coal Ash Pollution!  To learn more, visit www.cleanwateraction.org/va/coalash.  For questions, contact Michael Bochynski, Virginia Program Organizer (mbochynski@cleanwater.org)

Photo credit: Nenad Zivkovic / Shutterstock