Georgia County Hires Independent Firm to Test Water Wells for Coal Ash

June 25, 2020

county in Georgia has announced it’s hiring an independent firm to investigate possible coal ash contamination of residential water wells.

An environmental consulting group will test wells of residents near Georgia Power Co.’s Plant Scherer in Juliette due to ongoing pollution concerns, Monroe County announced June 19 in a joint news release with Altahama Riverkeeper, an environmental organization in the state.

Altamaha Riverkeeper has previously tested wells around Juliette and found chemicals they say indicate contamination from the coal ash pond at Plant Scherer.

The newly announced consulting firm, which has yet to be named, will also be collecting well samples so more data can be gathered about the impact of the coal ash disposals, the release said.

“For my family, this well water is our only form of drinking water so there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that we’re not aware of the fact,” Mike Pless, a resident who lives nearly a mile from the plant, told WMAZ-TV. “Now, if we’re drinking water, we may be contributing to our own health issues.”

Georgia Power, a unit of Atlanta-based Southern Co., says its own testing of wells around the coal-fired power plant show no contamination above federal or state limits. In a statement provided to the news outlet, the company added they “took early action to quickly and safely begin closing” their ash ponds.

Fletcher Sams, executive director of Altahama Riverkeeper, said the testing will begin in the next few weeks.

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