Coal ash, the waste that remains when coal is burned, contains heavy metals and contaminants like lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. Without proper management, these contaminants can pollute waterways, groundwater, drinking water, and the air.
Coal ash is collected in a dump, known as a pond. Coal plants in at least 22 states fail water pollution standards.
In February 2014, a pipe running under a coal ash pond in Eden, NC ruptured. The coal ash spilled, largely affecting the Dan River. It’s the 3rd largest spill of its kind in U.S. history.