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Concerns Escalate Over Potential ‘Leaching’ of Heavy Metals as the EPA is expected to Issue New Rules in Early 2010


California’s LA Testing provides heavy metal testing solutions for mines, power plants and environmental agencies.

Los Alamitos, CA

The Sierra Club and New Mexico’s Mining and Mineral Division Director both agree that groundwater near a coal mine and power plant in northwestern New Mexico is polluted. What has not been agreed upon by both parties is how the groundwater became contaminated.

According to the Sierra Club, 40 million tons of coal ash and sludge has been put in unlined pits that have lead to the polluted water. The ash and sludge are the by-products of coal combustion and can contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, selenium and boron.

Contaminants, including boron, have been found in water samples and boron is considered a good indicator of coal combustion waste leaching. New Mexico’s groundwater quality standards call for 0.75 milligrams of boron or less per liter of water, but actual levels found in some monitoring wells have reported levels of 1.3 to 2 milligrams per liter.

Ever since a billion gallons of coal ash sludge broke through a retention dam in Tennessee in 2008 increased attention has been focused on the dangers of coal ash disposal. Currently combustion waste is not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but that is likely to change sometime this year when the EPA is expected to issue new disposal rules.

“According to the National Research Council, coal fired plants produce 129 million tons of combustion residues every year,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical. “This is an enormous amount of waste that has the ability to cause severe contamination of ground and surface waters and LA Testing has the expertise and analytical resources to help test materials and water to ensure public safety and protect the environment.”

To learn more about heavy metals or other environmental testing services please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


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