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Georgia Power Claims Groundwater Is Safe From Substances

Following an environmentalist report released on Thursday that claimed that ash ponds at 11 of Georgia’s 12 coal powered plants are leaking chemicals into the groundwater, including the claim that cobalt is a problem at Georgia Power’s Plant Wansley outside of Carrollton, Georgia Power officials told WLBB radio that any detections of the chemical have been isolated and contained to Georgia Power property; and the company has not identified any impact to public health or drinking water.  

Georgia Power Media and Issues Manager,  John Kraft:

“We have done testing and sampling around Plant Wansley and when we have detected substances like cobalt, we have gone out and done additional sampling further from that location where it was detected and in multiple locations and we have found that it is contained to the vicinity of the ash pond. It is on Georgia Power property. It has not moved outside of Georgia Power properties. We are confident that it is contained and does not present a public health or drinking water risk.”

When asked specifically: “Is Thursday’s report released by Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project incorrect or misleading in stating that plant Wansley has unsafe levels of cobalt in 11 wells, adding a substantial amount of cobalt to the local groundwater?

Kraft replied:

“Just based on what we have found, we have not identified a risk to public health or drinking water. We have done sampling around our ash pond and further from our ash pond and where we have detected substance, they have been isolated to those locations right around the ash ponds. We have not found any evidence that it has moved or migrated.”

Georgia Power issued a press release Thursday morning, following release of the environmentalist report, stating that Georgia Power is in the process of safely closing all 29 ash ponds at 11 active and retired coal fired power plant sites across the state. The release stated that the company is in the process of completely excavating 19 ash ponds located adjacent to lakes or rivers with the remaining 10 being closed in place, using advanced engineering methods and closure technologies. Kraft, on Thursday, could not give a timeline on when the ash ponds at Plant Wansley would be closed.

Carrollton City Water customers with concerns over the safety of their water can rest assured that their water is safe according to Carrollton City Manager Tim Grizzard.

“Our water intake is on the Little Tallapoosa River, which is a completely different basin from the basin that contains Plant Wansley or Plant Yates. Those are both in the Chattahoochee basin. Thos are both downstream of the city of Carrollton,” said Grizzard. “Not only are they downstream of Carrollton and Carroll County but they are not in the basin as where we draw water. There is no connection what so ever.”

Residents in the vicinity of Plant Wansley do have the option of testing their waters for chemicals, including cobalt, if still concerned.  They can do so through the Carroll County Ag Center.

“After the water hasn’t been used for six hours or so, you’d want to go to your kitchen or bathroom and turn on your cold water faucet for the sampling. You would immediately capture that in a quart sized container and fill up that container, said Ag Extension Agent Paula burke. “Then you would bring that to my office and we would send that off to the UGA Agricultural Environmental Services Lab.”

Burke said turnaround time for test results is at least a week. Cost of the test is 43 dollars.

That environmental study that was released Thursday can be found here.

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