Coal Ash Facts and Other Resources

On June 23, 2020, The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program publicly released its short film, The Unintended Consequences of Convenience - The Story of Coal Ash in Alabama. This animated feature is the culmination of a year of intensive research into the EPA’s Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule and Alabama Power’s Plan to close-in-place the 597-acre Plant Barry coal ash pond - situated on the banks of the Mobile River. During the course of research and production of the film, MBNEP gathered extensive literature related to the CCR Rule and closure options and contracted two firms to conduct independent analyses of Alabama Power’s Closure Plan: Cook Hydrogeology, who assessed geologic and hydrologic factors underlying the Plan, and D’Apollonia Engineers, who reviewed factors related to structural integrity aspects of that Plan. MBNEP began development of this film after being approached by stakeholders and elected officials seeking information on Alabama Power’s plan to close-in-place the coal ash pond at Plant Barry.

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Fact Sheets

Physical Science Fact Sheet (PDF, 74KB) CCR Legal Fact Sheet (PDF, 110KB)

                              Coal Ash Pond Frequently Asked Questions (updated 6/26/2020 4:40 p.m.)


Hydrogeology Review 

Plant Barry Coal Ash Pond Hydrogeologic Conditions Presentation - Video

Presentation - Marlon R. Cook - Cook Hydrology, LLC

Report - Marlon R. Cook Cook Hydrogeology, LLC 

Structural Engineering

Structural Integrity Review Presentation to GNC (May 4, 2020) - Video

Structural Integrity Review for CCR Closure Plan Plant Barry, Alabama Power Company,  Bucks, AL (PDF, 3MB)
Presentation - Robert E. Snow, P.E. - D’Appolonia Engineering Div. of Ground Technology, Inc. - May 4, 2020

Structural Integrity Review for CCR Closure Plan Plant Barry, Alabama Power Company,  Bucks, AL (PDF, 1.8MB)
Report - D’Appolonia Engineering Div. of Ground Technology, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA

Structural Integrity Review Presentation to Baykeeper (May 14, 2020) - Video

Additional Technical Reports and Publications

Abernathy, C; Charkraborti, D.; Edmonds, J. S.; Gibb, H.; Hoet, P.; Hopenhayn-Rich, C.; Howe, P. D.; Järup, L., Mehang, A. A..; Moore, M. R.; Ng, J. C.; Nishikawa, A.; Pyy, L.; Sim, M.; Stauber, J.; Vahter, M.; Imray, P.; Tomaska, L.; Hughes, D.; Aitio, A. (2001). Environmental Health for arsenic and arsenic compounds. Environmental Health Criteria, (224), i-xxviii + 1-521.

Alabama Department of Environmental Management. (2020). ADEM Admin. Code r. 335-13-.xx

Alabama Department of Transportation. (2017). 2017 Crash Facts, Drive Safe Alabama.

Alabama Power Company. (2020) Amended Closure Plan for Ash Pond, Plant Barry, Alabama Power Company, Bucks, Alabama

American Coal Ash Association. (2017). 2017 Coal Combustion Product (CCP) Production & Use Survey Report.

Beck, N. B; Becker, R. A.; Erraguntla, N.; Farland, W. H.; Grant, R.; Gray, G.; Kirman, C.; LaKind, J. S.; Lewis, R. J.; Nance, P.; Pottenger, L. H.; Santos, S. L.; Shirley, S.; Simon, T.; Dourson, M. L. (2016) Approaches for describing and communicating overall uncertainty in toxicity characterizations: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) as a case study. Environment International, Vol. 89-90, pp. 110-128.

Bourne, J. K., Jr. (2019) Coal’s Other Dark Side: Toxic Ash That Can Poison Water and People. National Geographic.

Bradley, L., (2013) ACAA Coal Ash Material Safety: A Health Risk-Based Evaluation of USGS Coal Ash Data from Five US Power Plants, 2013 World of Coal Ash Conference, Lexington, KY

Electric Power Research Institute. (2016). Qualitative Application of the Relative Impact Framework to Ten Tennessee Valley Authority Surface Impoundments; EPRI, Palo Alto, CA 2016: 3002007542.

Environmental & Energy Law Program. (2017) Coal Ash Rule.

Environmental Integrity Project. (2019). Coal's Poisonous Legacy - Groundwater Contaminated by Coal Ash Across the U. S.

Harkness, J. S.; Sulkin, B.; and Vengosh, A. (2016) Evidence for Coal Ash Ponds Leaking in the Southeastern United States. Environmental Science and Technology; 50: 6583-6592.

Johnson, G. J. (2018) Barry Ash Pond Review, Barry Power Generating Facility, Mobile, Alabama. Appendix J (Burgess Environmental Dam Safety Report) to Mobile Baykeeper Pollution Report: Coal Ash at Alabama Power's Plant Barry.

Kravchenko, J.; and Lyerly, H. K. (2018). The Impact of Coal-Powered Electrical Plants and Coal Ash Impoundments on the Health of Residential Communities. North Carolina Medical Journal; 79(5): 289-300.

Mobile Baykeeper (2018) Mobile Baykeeper Pollution Report: Coal Ash at Alabama Power's Plant Barry.

National Research Council. (2001). Arsenic in Drinking Water: 2001 Update. The National Academies Press.

Pecci, K. (2018) All Landfills Leak, and Our Health and Environment Pay the Toxic Price. Conservation Law Foundation Blog.

Ragucci, J. (2018) Overview of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) and TVA Kingston Case Study. Soil and Water Sciences Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.

Ruhl, L.; Vengosh, A.; Dwyer, G. S.; Hsu-Kim, H.; Deonarine, A.; Bergin, M.; Kravchenko, J. (2009) Survey of the Potential Environmental and Health Impacts in the Immediate Aftermath of the Coal Ash Spill in Kingston, Tennessee. Environmental Science and Technology; 43(16): 6326-6333.

Ruhl, L.; Vengosh, A.; Dwyer, G. S.; Hsu-Kim, H.; Schwartz, G.; Romanski, A.; Smith, D. S. (2012) The Impact of Coal Combustion Residue Effluent on Water Resources: A North Carolina Example. Environmental Science and Technology. 46(21): 12226-12233.

Russ, A.; Bernhardt, C.; Schaeffer, E.; Burkhart, K.; Pelton, T. Environmental Integrity Project. (2016).  Don't Drink the Water - Water in 65 Texas Communities Contains Toxic Levels of Arsenic, but State Fails to Advise Citizens to Use Alternative Water Supplies, Environmental Integrity Project.

Santamarina, J. C.; Torres-Cruz, L. A.; Bachus, R. C. (2019) Why Coal Ash and Tailings Dam Disasters Occur. Science. 364(6440): 526-528.

Sears, C. G., and Zierold, K. M. (2017) Health of Children Living Near Coal Ash. Global Pediatric Health.

Steevens, J. A.; Bednar, A. J.; Chappell, M. A.; Kennedy, A. J.; Seiter, J. M.; Stanley, J. K.; Averett, D. E. (2011) Evaluation of Metals Release from Oxidation of Fly Ash during Dredging of the Emory River, TN. Environmental Laboratory, U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, ERDC/EL TR-11-9.

Sweeney, D.; Cotting, A.; Hale, Z. (2019). Cost questions loom as utilities prepare to close hundreds of coal ash sites.

Tennessee Valley Authority Office of the Inspector General. (2009). Final Report - Inspection 2009-12283-02 - Review of the Kingston Fossil Plant Ash Spill Root Cause Study and Observations About Ash Management.

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. (2015) Alabama Coastal Comprehensive Plan.


U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine, (2004) Toxicological Profile for Cobalt CAS#: 7440-48-4

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine, (2007) Public Health Statement Arsenic CAS#: 7440-38-2.

U. S. EPA. (1988). Special Report on Ingested Inorganic Arsenic - Skin Cancer; Nutritional Essentiality. EPA/625/3-87/013.

U. S. EPA. (2008) Provisional Peer-Reviewed Toxicity Values for Cobalt. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/690/R-08/008F.

U. S. EPA. (2014). Framework for Human Health Risk Assessment to Inform Decision Making. EPA/100/R-14/001 April 2014.

U. S. EPA. (2018) Integrated Risk Assessment for Arsenic, inorganic; CASRN 7440-38-2.

U.S. EPA. (2019) Updated Problem Formulation and Systematic Review Protocol for the Inorganic Arsenic IRIS Assessment.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/635/R-19/049, 2019.

U. S. Senate Committee on environment and Public Works. (2009). Oversight hearing on the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Recent Major Coal Ash Spill. Senate Hearing 111-1177. U. S Government Publishing Office.

World Health Organization. (2006). Concise International Chemical Assessment Document 69: Cobalt and inorganic cobalt compounds.

World Health Organization (2011) Arsenic in Drinking Water: Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality. WHO/SDE/WSH/03.04/75/Rev/1.

World Health Organization. (2017). Guidelines for drinking-water quality: fourth edition incorporating first addendum, 4th ed + 1st add. World Health Organization.

World Health Organization. (2019). Preventing Disease Through Healthy Environments - Exposure to Arsenic: A Major Public Health Concern. WHO/CED/PHE/EPE/19.4.1.

Zierold, K. M.; Hagemeyer, A. N.; & Sears, C. G. (2019): Health symptoms among adults living near a coal-burning power plant, Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health.