Coal ash, the toxic remains of coal burning in power plants, is full of chemicals that cause cancer, developmental disorders and reproductive problems. It poisons our water and kills fish and wildlife.


Coal ash contains ash that can be so tiny you can’t even see it and you might not notice when you breathe it.  The smaller the coal ash dust particles, the more concentrated the toxics in it are. These can lodge in our lungs and make us sick. The ash also has cinders in it that could tear the plastic liners that Duke Energy/Charah plan to use at the bottom of what it calls “mine reclamations”--really coal ash landfills and not even regulated as well as a usual landfill.  


In the early days of the 1900s coal was burned to produce electric power.  Many of these coal-burning plants are still operating.  They stored the ash that was left after the coal burned in ponds near the plants, which were always near rivers, and right now, in 2015, the 34 coal ash ponds at the 14 coal burning plant sites in N.C. are all leaking into rivers.  


After the bad Dan River spill early in 2014, the N.C. Legislature passed a bill that made it possible for Duke’s 150 million tons of coal ash, some in ponds, some stored in big piles around N.C,. to be stored in old clay pits or mines which had been used to get clay to make bricks.  These mines are also usually near rivers, and both the Brickhaven site in Chatham and the Colon Road site in Lee are within the flood plain of the Cape Fear River, which provides drinking water for Sanford, southeast Chatham, Lillington, Fayetteville (and Ft. Bragg), and Wilmington.  The bill prohibited local jurisdictions (counties and towns) from having any control.  


Charah had to get three permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR): Mining, Waste Management, Water ( the 401 in order to destroy wetlands, which are now in these old clay pits).  They also need a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (404) to destroy wetlands.  As of July 1, DENR has released only two permits: Mining and Waste Management.  We will probably hear about the other two permits sometime in July 2015.


Experts say that coal ash should not be moved.  Experts also say that all landfills leak eventually.  We have seen the TV films of coal ash trucks carrying coal ash 3 miles from the plant near Asheville to the Asheville airport, where Charah is putting it under runways.  The ash was not covered.  It was flying off the trucks and getting onto people’s lawns There was a shot of a man mowing his lawn wearing a gas mask.  Trucks coming here would travel up to 150 miles.


The EPA gave its first ruling on coal ash last December (2014) but did not declare it hazardous, which it is.  We should not breathe it or ingest it.  It’s the 2nd largest waste stream in the U.S.  The safest way to deal with coal ash is to combine it with concrete and make salt stone, and then store that in concrete bunkers above ground at the site where it was generated.


We do not want any coal ash brought into or buried in Chatham or Lee Counties. 


Judy Hogan



Please see Downloadable Files for more even more information on Coal Ash.




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Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump (or CCACAD





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Groups file legal challenge to Duke Energy's coal ash dumping plans...  Read the press release.

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