I noticed a large mound today where our neighbor has been dumping his coal ash for about 40+ years (heating a sizeable 3floor house). The property
line is at the edge of a steep drop off of about 35+ft at about a 65-75 degree incline (looks almost straight down from the top), where it drops off,
about 6" from the edge is where the line is and I noticed just how much ash there is (probably 8-15 pickup truck loads, maybe more) and most of it
isn't on their property as it has all flowed downhill where the view was blocked until a large evergreen recently came down.
The ash is about 100 ft from where out well is and about 20ft above it, but if water were to run straight down the hill towards the well, then it
would pass w/n about 30ft of the well (and the surface is a permeable paving stone lot w/ sand and graven underneath so it's not filtering a lot).
I had no idea there was anywhere near this amount of ash and I know coal ash is MUCH worse than wood ash which can be used as fertilizer (when natural
wood is burned, not pressure treated or manufactured boards). I also suspect that it is a lower quality coal due to the amount of ash it produces,
which usually means it's higher in heavy metals (lead, mercury, nickel, tin, cadmium, antimony, and arsenic) and some of it is radioactive (thorium &
Here is a good page that lists the chemicals and metals found in some coals - there are some coals with MUCH lower amounts of these elements and even
w/o some of the elements. It is pretty alarming when you see the extensive list: Towards the bottom you will see the Human Health impacts of the
various elements (poisonings)
Over the last 15 years the health of the people living on this property has gotten significantly worse and the doctors seem to blame it on "old age"
though they have been relatively healthy & active their whole lives (with various injuries, knees, back, wrists, shoulders - from physical
stress/activities) with not much family history of the problems they are facing. IDK if toxins could be running off out of this dump and into the well
water or what, causing the problems.
So does anyone have experience with the dumping of residential coal ash being dumped and if it can cause problems? We had no idea they only used coal
and thought they burnt mostly wood, but supplemented w/ coal when not having enough wood, well that seems like it was a "story" we were fed long ago
and never told about it later.
Here is a quote as well (from above link) and it made me look at where this stuff goes, how much energy/time is used in mining these elements on their
own (when it could be recovered from the ash) - and then the ash could be processed as a clean building material for roads, concrete, cinder/concrete
blocks, etc. and this is just in the US - think of China, India and some European/ex Soviet countries!!!
The 1.05 billion tons of coal burned each year in the United States contain 109 tons of mercury, 7884 tons of arsenic, 1167 tons of beryllium, 750
tons of cadmium, 8810 tons of chromium, 9339 tons of nickel, and 2587 tons of selenium.
Be $900/lb $7,840/kg = $2.4 - $9.25 billion to
Cr - $6.5/lb ~$150million
Hg = $26/lb ~$6.25 million
arsenic "$.33/lb??", $320/100g, $1000/lb, $1-2/kg?? ($17.35billion @ $1000/lb) or about $17.35 million @ $1/lb)
cadmun - $5/kg - $4mil
NIckel - $25-55/kg ($11.35-24.97/lb) $233 - $513 million
Seleneium - 130/lb (140-420/lb on bidding site) $797 - $2,309 million
value of metals left behind in coal ash (or air) from yearly coal burning power plants. There are about 5-7 more recoverable metals but I didn't
find their amounts or values, so the low amount should be higher and the real number should be much higher than the $4 billion, probably more around
$10-14 or so.
Total = ~$4 billion on low end - $29.576 billion