Since 2004, the project has worked to improve the health and safety of residents living in the vicinity of coal waste storage sites. Through a combination of data collection, grassroots community organizing, reasearch, media events, and lobby work, we have made signifigant gains in protecting communities and bringing attention to the dangers of toxic coal sludge.
Together we have won a moratorium in the West Virgina State Legislature prohibiting the issuance of new permits for underground injection, gained emergency alert systems in communities near impoundments, and worked with communities to gain access to clean drinking water. We have brought together community members and scientists to test water across the southern coalfields and investigate the connections between coal slurry and contaminated water.
We are committed to continuing to fight for an end to the production of toxic coal sludge in West Virginia!
My/our needs are:
We have a constant need for certified water testing. The primary parameters of concern are heavy metals, sulfates and sulfides, and organics testing where possible.
We have an urgent need for scientists willing to write formal critiques of science published by regulatory agencies and industry consultants on well water contamination. In particular, we need a critique of this report by Triad Engineering:
An area of particular need is research into the toxicology of chronic low-dose exposure to a spectrum of heavy metals. Traditional dose-exposure relationships are very limited in cases of slurry contamination due to the wide range of exposure at fluctuating levels over long periods of time. Health impacts in communities with contaminated water need much greater professional documentation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that health impacts are greater than can easily be explained with our current understanding of dose-exposure.
Another area is in groundwater hydrology, particularly looking into the movement of contaminants from unlined impoundments into downstream alluvial aquifers.
My/our wishes are:
The Sludge Safety Project is always looking for the expertise and assistance of scientists, researchers and students who are willing to engage the issues surrounding coal sludge disposal and its impacts on human health and the environment. One of the biggest obstacles we face is bad science from regulators or industry or simply no science at all on critical issues. Work is needed in a wide range of disciplines including geochemistry, geohydrology, GIS analysis, epidemiology, toxicology, public health, and civil and environmental engineering. Large knowledge gaps provide a unique opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research that has immediate impacts in Appalachian communities. The Sludge Safety Project facilitates participatory research by connecting researchers with communities.