In the Water
Indiana is one of the top 10 coal-producing states in the U.S. It also has the largest number of coal ash disposal sites in the country. Coal ash is the waste product of burning coal for electricity. It’s full of heavy metals and other toxic substances that have leached into the ground water of Indiana communities.
In the Water follows the complex discussions around Indiana’s most traditional energy source. It speaks to everyone from the miners who dig coal from the ground, to environmental activists fighting for coal ash disposal legislation and clean water, to residents whose health has been affected by coal ash pollution.
It also looks to the future, exploring possible alternative uses of coal ash and ways to improve the quality of water for Indiana citizens.
In the Water section 18
After twenty years there are still residents who aren’t connected to municipal water and receive bottled water from NIPSCO.
In the Water section 17
The Trump EPA proposed several amendments that were meant to significantly weaken the 2015 Federal Coal Ash Law.
In the Water section 16
The cost of using coal to generate electricity is no longer the lowest cost option in many cases.
In the Water section 15
The cost of generating electricity must include the cost of carefully and responsibly disposing of the waste, so no community is unfairly burdened.
In the Water section 14
There have been 13 recorded coal ash spills in Indiana, including two in Martinsville that totaled 60 million tons.
In the Water section 13
Once the pipes to municipal water were connected, residents thought their problems with coal ash were behind them. However, they soon learned of the possible dangers that came from coal ash being used as fill in yards and areas around Pines.
In the Water section 12
Coal combustion waste became a larger problem after amendments were made to the Clean Air Act in 1988.
In the Water section 11
Coal ash can be turned into beneficial use products such has concrete or bricks, encapsulating the ash safely.
In the Water section 8
The EPA estimates that a person living near coal ash has a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer. That is a risk 2000 times the EPA's regulatory goals.
In the Water section 7
There are still 38 homes in the Town of Pines not connected to municipal water from Michigan City.
In the Water section 6
The majority of coal ash in Indiana is held in unlined surface impoundments. The metals from the ash can leach into the ground water and contaminate it over time.
In the Water section 5
To keep electricity rates as low as possible and because coal ash was exempt from waste handling laws, utilities did what was least expense and stored it in ponds.
In the Water section 4
Indiana is the 8th largest coal producer in the US and the mining industry contributed around $2 billion to the state economy in 2018.
In the Water Section 3
One million tons of coal ash from a NIPSCO power plant was housed over the Town of Pines aquifer and contaminated the residents water supply.
In The Water Section 2
The state of Indiana has more coal ash than any other state, with 86 known coal ash impoundments.
In The Water Section 1
Coal ash is what’s left over after burning coal for electricity. Seventy percent of Indiana’s electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants.