2:42pm

Wed July 13, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Ash Found in Louisville Homes

A new report has confirmed that coal ash is contaminating the homes of residents who live near a Louisville power plant. Residents have complained about dust from the Cane Run Power Station traveling onto their properties.A study commissioned by Louisville Gas & Electric took six samples off of nearby homes, and all came back showing significant amounts of coal ash.

The report cautions that the samples might not be representative of the whole area, but should be used to direct future dust sampling. LG&E spokeswoman Chris Whelan says company representatives plan to meet with the power plant’s neighbors on Monday.

“We found nothing harmful in these results, but there is evidence that there’s fly ash in the area and so we’re trying to get to the bottom of what exactly did happen and we’ll be sharing those results with them,” she said.

Aluminum and silicon were the most prevalent elements in the samples. Coal ash also contains more dangerous heavy metals, but those weren’t present in the samples in large amounts.

Under its permit, the company is allowed to emit fly ash from its smokestack, but if ash is leaving the landfill the company can be told to fix the problem. Air Pollution Control District spokesman Matt Stull says the district will need to study the report, but:

“What we’ve seen here also may lead us to ask LG&E or cause LG&E to take some remedial action here,” he said.

The Air Pollution Control District would have to conclude that the coal ash found in the samples came from the landfill, not from the plant’s smokestacks.

As far as the city is concerned, when dust or a smell limits a person’s rights to enjoy their property, it counts as a nuisance. Those living across from the power plant allege the ash has caused serious health problems among residents, as well as limiting their enjoyment of their property.