Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cochise coal ash pond hazards assessed

The seven coal ash ponds at the Willcox area's Apache Generating Station [right, Google Earth], operated by Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, are on the list of 44 "high hazard potential" waste sites from coal-fired power plants released by EPA earlier this month. But in an interview with the Benson News-Sun, company officials noted that EPA itself says "A high hazard potential rating is not related to the stability of those impoundments, but to the potential for harm should the impoundment fail." AEPCO said the facilities are inspected daily, weekly, and monthly, as well as annually by the ADWR Dam Safety & Flood Mitigation division.

EPA is carrying out safety reviews of all the ponds nationwide, with the results to be made public when completed, probably around the end of the year.

Arizona has a second coal ash pond facility at near Joseph City in the northeast part of the state.

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