BUCKS, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama Power has been given the okay from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to seal ash ponds at the Barry Steam Plant in north Mobile County, rather than digging them up and removing the sludge.
When coal is burned, it leaves behind ash as a by-product. At Barry, that ash has been dumped for decades into holding ponds that are dammed up to keep it out of the nearby Mobile River.
Alabama Power can now basically contain the sludge in place.
Environmentalists had wanted the company to take the more expensive step of digging up and trucking the sludge to inland-lined landfills. They fear groundwater contamination and a possible environmental catastrophe if the ponds’ walls ever break and the ponds flood the Mobile River.
See reaction to today’s ADEM ruling from Mobile Baykeeper in the video above.