Cardinal Plant has 58 groundwater monitoring wells, 47 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between October 04, 2010 and October 11, 2017. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of sulfate, lithium, manganese, arsenic, boron, molybdenum, cobalt, lead, strontium, radium, barium, fluoride, beryllium, cadmium, silver and thallium.Site description
Cardinal Plant and its coal combustion waste disposal sites sit on the edge of bluffs overlooking the Ohio River. The disposal areas include the Bottom Ash Complex (Bottom Ash Pond and Recirculation Pond), Fly Ash Reservoir 1 (decommissioned) and Fly Ash Reservoir 2. In May of 2012, American Electric Power applied for permission to raise the dam height of Reservoir 2 by 13 feet to accommodate waste disposal plans through 2019.
Hydrogeological reports document that the two reservoirs have significantly impacted the site geomorphology and hydrogeological conditions due to the filling of two branches of Block House Hollow and valley fills of saturated fly ash; the reservoirs likely contribute recharge (and contamination) to upper aquifers, which are themselves hydrologically connected to lower aquifers shared by nearby residential wells.
Cardinal's fly ash reservoirs (1 & 2) are among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of potential damage cases, indicating that they have potentially polluted groundwater or surface water at levels which threaten human health and the environment.
Unit 1 is slated to be converted into a natural gas unit by 2030. All of the ash disposal units listed above are regulated under the CCR-rule. You can find the industry reported data here. For more information on Plant Cardinal, see EIP’s 2019 National Coal Ash Report, Coal’s Poisonous Legacy.