West Virginia Orders Safety Review of Fly Ash Dams

January 23, 2009

West Virginia is taking a closer look at 18 fly ash impoundments to make sure the dams are structurally sound and built to current safety standards.

Fourteen of them are active.

Department of Environmental Protection Director Randy Huffman says he ordered the review only as a precaution.

Fly ash is waste produced by burning coal for power generation.

DEP is requiring dam owners to provide updated inspection reports from their engineers, along with evaluations of structural stability.

They must also identify whether there’s a risk the impoundment could affect underground mines.

State inspectors will then document each impoundment with aerial photographs and ground inspections.

A report should be ready for the public by summer.

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