Miller Steam Plant Ash Pond

From Global Energy Monitor

Miller Steam Plant Ash Pond is the coal ash disposal site associated with Miller Steam Plant, owned and operated by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power near Quinton, Alabama.

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Site data

Information below derived from EPA's Coal Ash Survey database;[1] GPS coordinates courtesy of Earthjustice researchers

  • Owner: Alabama Power
  • Parent company: Southern Company
  • Associated coal plant: Miller Steam Plant
  • Location: Quinton, AL
  • GPS coordinates: 33.6360, -87.0570
  • Hazard potential: Low
  • Year commissioned: 1978
  • Year(s) expanded:
  • Material(s) stored: Fly ash, Bottom ash, Boiler slag, FGD
  • Professional Engineer (PE) designed?: Yes
  • PE constructed?: Yes
  • PE monitored?: Yes
  • Significant deficiencies identified: Confidential
  • Corrective measures: Confidential
  • Surface area (acres): Confidential
  • Storage capacity (acre feet): Confidential
  • Unit Height (feet): Confidential
  • Historical releases: None
  • Additional notes:

Coal waste in the United States

A January 2009 study by The New York Times following the enormous TVA coal ash spill found that there are more than 1,300 surface impoundments across the U.S. containing coal waste, with some sites as large as 1,500 acres.[2] Also in January 2009, an Associated Press study found that 156 coal-fired power plants store ash in surface ponds similar to the one that ruptured at Kingston Fossil Plant. The states with the most storage in coal ash in ponds are Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama. The AP's analysis found that in 2005, 721 power plants generating at least 100 MW of electricity produced 95.8 million tons of coal ash, about 20 percent of which - or almost 20 million tons - ended up in surface ponds. The rest of the ash winds up in landfills or is sold for other uses.[3] In June 2009, EPA released its list of 44 "high hazard potential" coal waste sites, which included 12 sites in North Carolina, 9 in Arizona, 6 in Kentucky, 6 in Ohio, and 4 in West Virginia.[4] The full list is available here.

Toxins at Miller coal ash site

Miller ranked 15th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[5] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[6]

Miller Steam Plant ranked number 15 on the list, with 2,160,349 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[5]

Miller ranked 7th in terms of mercury emissions

A 2010 report by the Environmental Integrity Project using EPA data found that Miller is the 7th worst mercury polluter in the United States, emitting 1,158 pounds of mercury in 2008, the most recent year for data.[7]

Miller plant highest in coal ash toxins

According to a 2011 analysis of data in the U.S. EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, the Environmental Integrity Project found that Alabama Power's Miller Steam Plant in western Jefferson County, Alabama, sends more toxic metals to its ash pond than any other plant in the country -- more than 5 million pounds annually.[8]

Citizen groups



  1. Coal Ash Survey Results, Environmental Protection Agency, accessed December 2009.
  2. Shaila Dewan, "Hundreds of Coal Ash Dumps Lack Regulation," New York Times, January 7, 2009.
  3. Dina Cappiello, "Toxic Coal Ash Piling up in Ponds in 32 States," Associated Press, January 9, 2009.
  4. Shaila Dewan, "E.P.A. Lists ‘High Hazard’ Coal Ash Dumps," New York Times, June 30, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  6. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  7. "Dirty Kilowatts: America's Top 50 Power Plant Mercury Polluters" EIP Report, March 2010.
  8. Thomas Spencer, "Jefferson County plant disposes most toxic ash in US", January 06, 2012.

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