(AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking the public’s
feedback on a proposed cleanup of coal ash buried along Lake Michigan that
the agency believes is threatening wildlife at the Indiana Dunes National
The EPA has drafted
a cleanup plan for the eastern part of Northern Indiana Public Service Co.’s
former Bailly Generating Station in Chesterton. The deadline for public
comments is Aug. 19.
believe coal ash buried around the former coal-fired power plant is seeping
through groundwater and threatening plants and wildlife at the national
park. The 15,000-acre (6,070-hectare) park along Lake Michigan’s southern
shore is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Chicago, and
contains one of the nation’s most biodiverse ecosystems.
Generating Station closed in 2018, but the EPA said NIPSCO buried coal ash -
a byproduct of coal burned to produce electricity - there in the 1960s and
1970s about 25 feet (7.6 meters) underground.
The agency believes
that ash is seeping into underground water, which is “carrying the
underground contamination into the park,” the Post-Tribune reported.
Coal ash is known
to contain many toxic metals, but boron is the primary contaminant the EPA
is worried about. The agency said the metal is harming plants but is present
at levels “too low to harm people.”
The EPA’s plan
calls for 100,000 cubic yards (76,455 cubic meters) of dry coal ash/soil to
be dug up and hauled off-site for disposal. Another 85,000 cubic yards of
“wet” ash below the water table would be solidified to prevent contaminants
from migrating to the groundwater or surface water, the agency said.