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Manure, Nuclear Waste, Sewage, And Coal Ash: Scary Toxic Lagoons (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 10/27/10 09:23 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:05 PM ET

Hold your nose and run for cover!

Many people think that waste from mining, nuclear power, and even sewage is out of sight, out of mind. Not so much. Much of this waste is stored in open-air lagoons with thin plastic liners, or none at all. Their walls are prone to bursting in a heavy rain. And what they contain poses a threat to our ecosystems, homes, and our health.

If you can stand to take a look at these Halloween horrors of a totally different kind, here are the lagoons that we wish didn't exist.

Coal Ash
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In 2008 when a retaining wall at the Kingston coal plant in Tennessee failed, it spilled an estimated 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic waste, including lead and thallium, into the surrounding area and water. The flow of sludge also destroyed three nearby homes. In the past ten years there have been other coal ash spills in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

In case you’re thinking “that could never happen near me,” we have some bad news. There are 1,300 coal waste storage sites across the US. In 2008 the EPA reported that 67 coal-ash sites were found to be contaminating drinking water across 23 states. Out of all the 155 sites the EPA reviewed, all but 13 had no liner or an inadequate liner. The liner is what keeps toxic metals from leaching into the water supply. About a third of the offending sites were near human populations, and two-thirds were near key waterways.

What’s worse, most of the sites are not monitored at all. That’s because coal ash is not regulated by the federal government as hazardous waste.
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Worst Lagoons
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Worst Waste Lagoons
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