SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. non-profit organization Earthjustice warned Wednesday that coal ash waste released from unlined pits is leaking toxic substances and polluting underground water in eight U.S. states.
Coal ash, the leftovers of burned coal, is dumped into pits at approximately 1,400 sites around the country and poses threats to drinking water, neighborhoods and air quality, said Earthjustice, a non-profit public interest law organization which is dedicated to environmental issues.
According to Earthjustice, a review of 14 industry reports made by U.S. utility companies shows unlined coal ash pits are leaking arsenic and other toxic substances into the groundwater near old coal-burning power plants.
From just an initial survey of reports by hundreds of power plants, "we can see that groundwater contamination from coal ash pits is a grave concern," and "Coal ash is a silent, tasteless killer," said Earthjustice Senior Counsel Lisa Evans.
The plants located in the eight states span from Florida in the southern United States to Alaska in the country's northwestern region.
Under a 2015 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coal ash rule, all U.S. electric generating utilities were required to analyze groundwater pollution at each of their operating coal ash dumps by Jan. 31, 2018 and publish the results online by March 2.
However, the largest electric utilities in the nation have not posted the results of their groundwater monitoring, including Duke Energy, First Energy and Ameren, and all of the major utility companies are delaying public posting until the March 2 deadline, Earthjustice said.
The EPA and environmental groups have already confirmed over 200 cases of water contamination from leaking coal ash sites, it said.