© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Recut: Why Is The Groundwater Polluted Around This Power Plant?

Black leachate pooling near monitoring well 2 at the D.B. Wilson Power Plant in 2010.
Division of Waste Management
Black leachate pooling near monitoring well 2 at the D.B. Wilson Power Plant in 2010.

When you flip the switch, the light comes on. It's something we all take for granted, and it's possible because of coal energy. But burning coal for electricity leaves something behind: coal ash, which contains things like barium. And arsenic.

We burn a lot of coal in this country, producing huge amounts of coal ash that we have to figure out what to do with.

At the D.B. Wilson power plant in Western Kentucky, that coal ash goes into unlined landfills. It’s been seen in ditches and ponds that flow into the Green River, and it's also been seeping into the groundwater — possibly for as long as 18 years.

Coal ash is supposed to be regulated, and the regulations are supposed to keep people safe from it. So what went wrong at D.B. Wilson? WFPL's environment reporter Ryan Van Velzer joins us on this episode of Recut, to explain.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.

Can we count on your support?

Louisville Public Media depends on donations from members – generous people like you – for the majority of our funding. You can help make the next story possible with a donation of $10 or $20. We'll put your gift to work providing news and music for our diverse community.