Coal Ash on the Middle Fork
Frequently Asked Questions
November 27, 2017
Vermilion Site Riverbank Assessment
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
November 2, 2017
Riverbank erosion continues to move the river channel toward embankments that hold 2.8 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash. The report by Stantec Consulting Services Inc. shows the erosion rate at the North and Old East pits to be from 2.5 to 9 times greater than previous estimates.
Of the 1,700 feet of riverbank that was evaluated by Stantec, 775 feet have already eroded to a point where there is insufficient space between the river’s edge and the toe of the slope of the coal ash embankment to accommodate construction equipment. An additional 550 feet may be inaccessible due to deteriorating gabions. In these sections, installing options for riverbank stabilization proposed by Stantec may require some combination of the following:
- Cutting into and regrading the embankment that holds back the coal ash;
- Reconstructing a portion of the riverbank lost to erosion (which would require fill in the river’s channel); and/or
- Working with a long-reach backhoe from the river.
The ability to move forward with options for riverbank stabilization that have been proposed by the consultant is not yet clear, and requires approvals by state and federal agencies. If approved and constructed at one time, the 1,700 feet of armoring will take six to eight months to complete and would need to be constructed during the summer recreation season.
There are no state requirements that obligate Dynegy-Midwest Generation to post a bond or otherwise guarantee that money would be available for long-term monitoring, maintenance or cleanup in the event of a coal ash spill. If Dynegy goes bankrupt as they did in 2012, taxpayers could be saddled with future costs. Even if Dynegy sells the property to another owner, there are no guarantees that future liabilities will be met without taxpayer intervention.