The plume of polluted water was black. In the satellite images, it snaked from the coal ash landfill at the D.B. Wilson Power Plant in Western Kentucky, about 40 minutes south of Owensboro.
The water went through a ditch, until it reached a sediment pond. There, the images showed the black plume spreading through the murky green water, before it dissipated. The black water — which state regulators described as having a “very pronounced unpleasant odor” — had arsenic levels that exceed the federal standard by nearly a thousand times.
Regulators say it’s possible the pollution has been seeping from the landfill for more than a decade, eventually making its way into the Green River and potentially contaminating the groundwater. Big Rivers Electric — the utility that owns the power plant — has been cited for some of the pollution, and the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection is still investigating the extent of the problem. The DEP declined a request for an interview but said in an email the department is continuing to work with the utility to address the concerns.
And as the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet works to weaken the state’s oversight of coal ash […]