- The state of Maryland is challenging the state of Virginia over its plans to allow Dominion Virginia Power to drain water from coal ash ponds at its Possum Power Station into a creek that flows into the Potomac River. Once water from the site’s four ponds is treated and discharged, the remaining ash will be transferred into what will become a capped, dry landfill, as reported in Baltimore Sun.
- Potomac Riverkeeper Network and Prince William County's Board of Supervisors also appealed the state's rule, concerned of potential environmental and public health threats.
- Dominion officials say they are complying with environmental standards for the closure of coal ash ponds and that the water will continue to be monitored for contaminants.
Coal ash can contain arsenic, lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and other toxic metals, raising issues over its safe handling throughout the country.
"Being good stewards of the Potomac watershed means taking extreme caution so that untreated or improperly treated coal ash does not foul waterways," Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said in a statement. "Any plan to dump waste in or near the river needs heightened scrutiny and rigorous analysis, and that is what this legal step is ensuring."
Dominion spokesperson David Botkins said the plan will protect the states’ rivers and groundwater while safely disposing of the coal ash. "It is the safest and best approach and will meet all state and federal environmental requirements," he said.
But Mark J. Belton, Maryland's secretary of Natural Resources, said in a letter to Virginia that the water from the coal ponds might "cause significant harm to human and aquatic life ... even though the permit may technically satisfy regulatory standards."