Proposed LG&E Coal Ash Dump Discussed

by Rick Howlett on July 15, 2010

A proposal by Louisville Gas and Electric Company to build a new coal combustion waste dump at its Cane Run facility in west Louisville was the focus of a Metro Council informational hearing Thursday.

LG& E is asking state regulators for permission to build the dump on 60 acres adjacent to its current disposal site, which is running out of room.

The current containtment dam has been classified as “high hazard” by the EPA, but the utility company’s Mike Winkler told the Metro Council’s Energy and Environment Committee that the term can be misleading.

“It has nothing to do with the structural integrity or the likeliness of that dam to fail,” he said. Under those guidelines, the structural integrity of the dam was excellent, it got the highest rating that the EPA could possibly give. So it’s just the hazards associated with a dam failure, not the likelihood of a dam failure.”

Environmental groups and people who live nearby say they’re worried about, among other things, the possibility of heavy metals and other hazardous materials leaking into groundwater and the nearby Ohio River from current and future dumps.

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