LABADIE (KTVI) – Despite strong public opposition, the Missouri agency that regulates utilities has approved construction of a coal ash landfill adjacent to Ameren’s coal fired power plant in Franklin County.
But local residents fear their water may become contaminated. Critics are disappointed by the Missouri Public Service Commission`s decision that brings Ameren one step closer to building a landfill to store coal ash from its Labadie plant right in the middle of a Missouri River flood plain.
The worries: coal ash could contaminate Missouri River water or ground water if it is buried in a landfill near the river.
Ameren says it will be turned into a solid form, much like concrete. But opponents are not convinced.
“Flood plains filter our drinking water so water that is filtered here in Labadie is consumed downstream from us which would be the metro St. Louis area and contaminants that move through this flood plain move toward the river and so eventually that all ends up in the river and it impacts not only our drinking water but also habitat for fish and birds that depend on the river,” said Patricia Schuba with the Labadie Environmental Organization.
Ameren captures the coal fly ash to keep it from contaminating the air. But without landfill space to bury the ash, the power plant will have to shut down.
An Ameren spokesperson said Thursday, “We have designed the landfill to comply with engineering standards required by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in their proposed regulations.”