Photo: Richard Webb, Geograph/CC BY-SA
Most Americans are hardly aware of what coal ash (also commonly called fly ash) is -- though plenty became more familiar with the stuff around two years ago when a massive slurry of the stuff was unleashed upon Tennessee. The often toxic byproduct of burning coal for electricity, fly ash is usually captured from the chimneys of power plants. Then, it's stored in containment sites -- or dumped. The following video documents the impact that coal ash waste has on a small town community and the surrounding environment. It's not pretty.
Some 131 million tons of fly ash are produced every year by the hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the nation. A decent percentage of that is reused in various ways -- producing cement, for embankments, and so on. But much of it isn't. There's currently no comprehensive federal policy on coal ash oversight. People who live in the vicinity of the stuff have long sought to change that, and the EPA has recently been moving towards regulating coal ash. This video does a pretty good job of demonstrating why that's probably a good idea.
More on Coal Ash
Why We Need Federal Safeguards for Coal Ash
Which Senators Refuse to Let Coal Ash Be Regulated as Hazardous Materials?
600 Coal Ash Dump Sites Found in 35 States: Is There One Near You ...