Public meeting failed to address concerns about lake pollution

Published 8:26 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

I attended a public “meeting” by Kentucky Utilities (KU), for the EW Brown plant that lies at the end of Herrington Lake (the Lake).

Held at the Mercer County library, there were four tables, staffed by KU employees, dealing with the stages of the coal combustion residuals (CCR) process, starting with the initial combustion resulting in coal ash and gypsum. Next, was the regulatory table    what do the CCR regulations require and how will KU comply; next, was the Romboll report expert, the KU commissioned study of the impact of coal ash leaching into the Lake primarily from the unlined coal ash pit. Last, the construction expert in the processes used to cap the ponds.

I had expected a presentation on what KU plans to do to comply with CCR regulations to address lithium and molybdenum found in groundwater test wells near the plant. The turnout was small — I counted 10 people and eight were from my group.

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How does this really “inform” the public or address concerns? We only found out about it through a contact with the Lake’s Conservation League. Notice was in the Harrodsburg paper, but nothing was sent to The Advocate-Messenger, which has done extensive coverage of issues on the lake, including coal ash.

When I asked about the “other” coal ash issue, the state Corrective Action Plan (CAP), I was told the state is deferring to the Federal CCR process and there will be no public meeting on KU’s CAP with the state. Again, no opportunity for the public to process the information and ask questions.

KU paid for the independent study by Romboll (to the tune of $1 million) to look at issues from the lawsuit by Earthjustice on behalf of the KWA and Sierra Club. KU stands by the findings of “no significant impact” and plans no further remediation of the legacy pollution from its coal ash ponds.

I acknowledge that KU has done work to prevent further pollution, but I am concerned about what is already in the water. If KU is proud of their efforts and confident in the Romboll report, why not hold a public meeting, in the traditional sense, present their information and allow the public to ask questions?

If you would like to join KFTC in this effort to push for a public meeting, please sign the petition at and make your voice heard. Thank you.

Julie Pease

Wilderness Trace Chapter of KFTC