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South Georgia Landfill Used As Potentially Toxic Coal Ash Dumping Site

According to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division's (EPD) Chesser Island Landfill 2019 Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Annual Report, AES Puerto Rico has been dumping toxic ash in Charlton County. The report states that AES Puerto Rico, the owner and operator of a coal-fired plant in the town of Guayama,has been sending its coal ash via Keystone Terminal in Jacksonville, Florida to the Georgia landfill since at least March 2018. AES began exporting coal ash from Puerto Rico after protests erupted in Peñuelas where community and environmental groups organized to stop the dumping of ashes in a nearby landfill. The AES power plant in Puerto Rico anually generates around 300,00 tons of coal ash, which is the toxic byproduct of coal burned to generate electricity. Coal ash typically contains a number of substances such as arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury among others. According to a 2007 draft by RTI for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency titled Human and Ecological Risk Assessment Of Coal Ash Combustion Wastes , living next to a coal ash disposal site can increase your risk of cancer or other diseases. The report states that under some circumstances people have as much as a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer from drinking contaminated arsenic, one of the most common and dangerous pollutants in coal ash. A list of other possible illnesses can be found below. The full report can be read by visiting


Lung disease, developmental problems


Eye irritation, heart damage, lung problems


Multiple types of cancer, darkening of skin, hand warts


Gastrointestinal problems, muscle weakness, heart problems


Lung cancer, pneumonia, respiratory problems


Reproductive problems, gastrointestinal illness


Lung disease, kidney disease, cancer


Cancer, ulcers and other stomach problems


Respiratory distress


Lung/heart/liver/kidney problems, dermatitis


Decreases in IQ, nervous system, developmental and behavioral problems


Nervous system, muscle problems, mental problems


Cognitive deficits, developmental delays, behavioral problems


Mineral imbalance, anemia, developmental problems


Cancer, lung problems, allergic reactions


Birth defects, nervous system/reproductive problems


Birth Defects, lung/throat/eye problems


Gastrointestinal effects, reproductive problems

This is not the first time the landfill has raised environmental concerns, in 2016 the Georgia EPD investigated a significant increase in vanadium that was detected in the groundwater near the land after the landfill received coal ash from Plant McManus in Brunswick, GA. At this time the EPA is proposing a federal permitting program for the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) in surface impoundments and landfills, which will also include electronic permitting. This proposal includes requirements for federal CCR permit applications, content and modification, as well as procedural requirements. EPA is soliciting comments in a 60-day comment period, during which a public hearing will be held for interested persons to present information, comments or views concerning this proposed program. In the current pre-publication version of the proposed Federal CCR permit program rulemaking, EPA stated that the public hearing would be held on February 19, 2020. EPA is considering moving that date further in the future. EPA will announce a new date in the Federal Register Notice and on this website:

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