Washington – Millions of tons of toxic coal ash is piling up in power plant ponds in 32 states, including Wyoming.
An Associated Press analysis of the most recent Energy Department data finds that 156 coal-fired power plants store ash in surface ponds similar to the one that collapsed last month in Tennessee.
Wyoming has three ponds.
PacifiCorp has two plants with such ponds - one in Lincoln County and another in Campbell County.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative has another in Platte County.
Together they hold more than 226,000 tons of toxic coal ash.
The power industry estimates that the ponds nationwide contain tens of thousands of pounds of toxic heavy metals. The federal government's long recognized the ponds as a risk to human health and the environment but has left the practice unregulated.