Missouri Chapter

Explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.

Problems with Springfield's City Utilities Proposal for a New Coal Ash Disposal Site

Thursday, May 22, 2014


The White River Group of the Missouri Sierra Club is going to make a presentation to the Springfield City Council on Monday, June 9 at 6:30 pm in the City Council Chamber of the Historic City Hall. The address is 840 N. Boonville. We are asking for your presence and support. City Council is the overseer of our municipal utility, City Utilities. (CU) We want to make them aware of our concerns regarding CU's proposed new coal ash disposal site. Here are the major points:


1. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) denied all six of CU's proposed coal ash storage sites in the preliminary site investigation. All six received a rating of "severe collapse potential."


2.  All six sites are on highly permeable limestone, also known as karst topography. CU has confirmed at least five catastrophic sinkhole collapses that have occurred within the existing coal ash storage sites. These are geologically similar to the proposed sites.


3. CU has not performed groundwater monitoring at their existing coal ash storage sites despite being asked to do so by the MO DNR as recently as October 2013. Coal ash is known to contain multiple heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic that are toxic to human beings (especially children) and other living things.


4. Trending faults provide a highly permeable pathway that can provide connectivity to the deep Ozarks aquifer. This supplies a four state area with water. Dye traces showed that water from the Twitty site shows up in Rader Springs and local wells. There are seven springs in the area of the proposed sites that ultimately connect with Wilson's Creek, the James River and Table Rock Lake. 

5. CU was able to bypass the DNR's rejection of the proposed coal ash storage sites legislatively. Missouri State Representative Lincoln Hough from the 135th district put an amendment into a bill on the last day of the legislature in May 2013. This exempted CU from the DNR ruling retroactively. They are still subject to the DNR's ruling on the upcoming detailed site investigation (DSI) which is projected to cost ratepayers approximately one million dollars. According to CU communications manager Joel Alexander, "We just finalized everything (May 16, 2014) and have held a preliminary project discussion with Gredell Engineering Resources from Jefferson City. This is for the study (DSI) of a new site which is located on CU property near the existing one." CU pays dues (in 2014, $88,000 of ratepayer money) to belong to a trade group called MAMU or the Missouri Alliance of Municipal Utilities.  MAMU has contributed money to the Lincoln Hough election campaign in the past.

Please help us use the power of our collective voices. We hope to see you there. If you are not able to attend, please contact the Springfield City Council with your concerns. This is easily done through the mail, telephone or email. This information is provided below.  You need not be a Springfield resident to be affected by CU's decisions, so please do not let that stop you from speaking up.  If you are interested in more information, please contact the White River Group of the Missouri Sierra Club through Judy Dasovich at jdaso@aol.com. Thank you for your commitment and activism.

Springfield City Council, Busch Municipal Building, 4th floor

840 Boonville Avenue, Springfield, MO 65802

(417)864-1651, citycouncil@springfieldmo.gov