Toxic waste from coal ash pits leaching into Illinois’ only National Scenic River

Toxic coal ash waste can be seen leaking into the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River. (Prairie Rivers Network)

Seven years after Dynegy Inc. scrapped one of the last coal plants in downstate Illinois, environmental groups are accusing the company of failing to prevent toxic waste stored nearby from seeping into the state’s only National Scenic River. Citing problems documented in the Houston-based company’s own internal reports, the nonprofit Prairie Rivers Network announced Wednesday that it plans to file suit, accusing Dynegy of repeatedly violating the federal Clean Water Act.

The group said it decided to challenge the company on its own because federal and state regulators have failed to address well-known hazards at the shuttered plant near Oakwood, about 25 miles east of Urbana. Pictures taken by the group show orange- and purple-hued muck leaching from the banks of the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River as it meanders past the former Vermilion Power Station, a coal-fired facility built in the mid-1950s by Illinois Power and later purchased by Dynegy.

“These illegal discharges could not be more obvious,” said Jenny Cassel, an attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization representing the Prairie Rivers Network. Before Dynegy […]

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Toxic waste from coal ash pits leaching into Illinois' only National Scenic River
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Toxic waste from coal ash pits leaching into Illinois' only National Scenic River
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Seven years after Dynegy Inc. scrapped one of the last coal plants in downstate Illinois, environmental groups accuse them of failing to prevent toxic waste from seeping into the state's only National Scenic River. Prairie Rivers Network accuses Dynegy of repeatedly violating the federal Clean Water Act.
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Chicago Tribune
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