Cleaning Up Coal Ash and Power Plant Pollution

Clean Water Action is fighting to protect communities from toxic power plant water pollution. For decades the power plant industry enjoyed a free pass to dump unlimited amounts of dangerous chemicals directly into our surface water, including sources of water used for drinking. As long overdue new national protections go into effect, we will be fighting back against the power plant industry’s push to weaken them.

Cover - Closing the Floodgates

Closing the Floodgates

Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of toxic water pollution in the United States, dumping billions of pounds of pollution into America’s rivers, lakes, and streams each year. These pollutants, including lead and mercury, are dangerous to humans and wreak havoc in our watersheds even in very small amounts.  It’s time for power plants to stop using our rivers, lakes and streams as open sewers to dump their waste! 

U.S. House Guts EPA Coal Ash Rule

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1734 which weakens the Environmental Protection Agency's recently issued coal ash rule. Clean Water Action Water Programs Director, Jennifer Peters, released the following statement:

No More Free Pass to Pollute: The Environmental Protection Agency Protects Drinking Water & Communities from Toxic Power Plants

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first-ever national pollution limits to control the amount of heavy metals, nutrients and other pollutants steam electric power plants can discharge into our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and bays. 

Waste water being discharged into a river. Photo credit: EvgeniiAnd / Shutterstock

Power Plant Industry’s Free Pass to Pollute Our Water: Revoked!

UPDATE: President Trump's EPA proposed weakening these protections in 2017. Clean Water Action is currently engaged in a campaign to stop this short-fighted rollback.

Clean Water Action’s campaign to end toxic water pollution from coal-burning power plants achieved an incredible victory on September 30, 2015 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first-ever national pollution limits to control the amount of harmful pollutants steam electric power plants can dump into our nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and bays.

From We All Live Downstream

photo: coal ash dump / shutterstock
April 27, 2018

Scott Pruitt is failing our children -- on purpose.

Image of Chalk Point Coal Plant from MD Sierra Club
August 22, 2017

Update: Thank you to all of our members who sent comments. The comment period is now closed - we will update you when there is an update.

We have a problem with coal-fired power plants dumping toxic pollutants such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and selenium into our waterways. These pollutants concentrate in the food chain, and already Maryland has fish consumption advisories for mercury in over ten species.

October 5, 2015

For years Clean Water Action and our allies have been fighting to rein in the largest toxic water polluter in the U.S. – coal-burning power plants. It’s no secret that coal-burning power plants pollute our air with unhealthy chemicals. What is not as well known is these plants have also been dumping arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium and other nasty pollutants directly into our lakes, rivers, streams, and bays for decades – far more than any other polluting industry. At the end of September, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) finally closed this longstanding polluter loophole in our nation’s Clean Water Act.