From the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.
In Alaska, coal‐fired power plants generate tens of thousands of metric tons of waste each year, known as coal combustion wastes, of which a major component is coal ash. Coal ash throughout the nation has been found to contain concerning levels of toxic chemicals that pose serious risks to human health.
At the request of local residents concerned about coal ash contamination, a sampling project was conducted in the Fairbanks area in June 2010. This project aimed to determine the composition of coal ash in the Fairbanks region and whether it may be hazardous to health. Because the coal ash produced in Fairbanks contains higher levels of toxic chemicals than background soil, it should not be considered “inert” as is currently the case. Without regulatory improvements, the existing waste disposal and reuse practices in Alaska will continue indefinitely.
To protect our communities, we need coal ash to be regulated effectively as hazardous waste with safeguards for storage, handling, transport and disposal.