State law requires coal ash to be stored in lined landfills to prevent seepage into the soil or water table, and officials with the state Environmental Protection Division noted an effort to increase monitoring requirements and give the public more notice and information.
Energy providers have said the risks to public health are minimal if the ash is stored in lined landfills that take active measures to suppress windblown ash, control runoff and monitor groundwater.
But environmental critics say that Georgia laws still don’t go far enough to ensure that landfills accepting coal ash are sited far from rivers and other water sources, or that they are adequately monitored for seepage into the water table.
Last month, the Sierra Club said it planned a lawsuit against Georgia Power over potential contamination related to its pond closure plans, saying it didn't go far enough to prevent contaminating local waterways. The company, which expects to spend roughly $2 billion recycling or treating water from the ponds, said it is doing more than legally required to safely close the ponds and protect water quality.