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Thu May 30, 2013, 08:24 PM

Settlement raises questions about coal ash in Missouri

The owner of a Jefferson County business reached a settlement with regulators requiring the repair of environmental damage at a site where 140,000 tons of Ameren Missouri coal ash was dumped.

The Environmental Protection Agency claims unauthorized disposal of ash, which contains harmful metal like arsenic, chromium and selenium, fouled wetlands, a tributary to Plattin Creek and part of Willers Lake in Jefferson County. All of the ash came from Ameren's Rush Island plant just a couple of miles away.

The settlement announced Thursday requires the owner of the site, Rotary Drilling Supply Inc., to place a protective cap over still-existing ash piles to prevent runoff and take other short- and long-term measures to prevent further migration of pollutants and restore impacted wetlands. The company must submit plans within a month of the settlement being finalized.

Environmental advocates believe the site in Jefferson County is just one of many spots across Missouri where the placement of coal ash, the waste produced when coal is burned to produce electricity, has fouled ground and surface waters.


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