Coal ash ponds, also known as coal combustion residuals (CCR) ponds, are storage facilities used to contain the waste generated by burning coal for electricity production. However, these ponds present significant environmental and health concerns that demand our attention and action.

As State Senator of Illinois 43rd District, I represent three coal ash pond sites: Joliet 29, Lincoln Stone Quarry, and one in Romeville. We are attending the IEPA Coal Ash hearing on Wednesday, June 28 in Chicago to speak on this matter.

Below are updates on the Coal Ash Ponds proceedings:

A recent public hearing on the Will County Generating Station’s coal ash ponds proposed two solutions to the coal ash pond crisis: a cap-in-place proposal and a more robust proposal. The first proposal costs approximately $2.5M, and entails filling the ponds with soil and dirt to “cover” it, then landscape over it. The latter costs approximately $26.8M, and entails removing the contamination by excavation and a complete removal of the ash from the waste ponds, ultimately storing it in a federally-approved facility.

The full remediation will remove coal ash from contact with groundwater, therefore protecting drinking water moving it away from water bodies. This poses a permanent solution to water pollution and health issues due to contamination. Cap-in-place also leaves coal ash surface impoundments permanently vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to floods or cap failure during extreme storms.

Through our efforts, we aim to raise awareness about the hazards associated with coal ash ponds and encourage informed discussions on their impact. It is crucial that concerned citizens and policymakers collaborate to find effective solutions, ensuring the proper closure and remediation of existing coal ash ponds and the adoption of cleaner energy alternatives.

By understanding the risks posed by coal ash ponds, we can work together towards a future where our communities and environment are safeguarded from the detrimental effects of coal ash waste.