coal ash

Tim Ellis/KUAC

The University of Alaska Fairbanks celebrated the completion of the campus’s $245 million power plant back in August, in anticipation the facility would be online by the end of the year. But UAF officials say a structural problem that was repaired last month and a faulty electrical component discovered last weekend will keep the plant from going online until spring.


Golden Valley Electric Association will close a facility that processes coal ash produced by the Healy 1 power plant within five years, because it’s been leaking more toxic heavy metals into the area’s groundwater than federal regulations allow. Golden Valley also will come up with a plan to clean up groundwater contamination around the coal-fired power plant in Healy.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued first ever federal standards for the disposal of coal ash by electric utilities. The toxin containing ash has gotten national attention in recent years due to spills in the lower 48, but as KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the situation is different in Alaska.

Usibelli Coal Mine

An analysis by the state finds no health impacts from coal ash and dust from the downtown Fairbanks Aurora Energy Plant. An Environmental Protection Agency contractor hired to investigate neighborhood contamination found dioxins, heavy metals and hydrocarbons in soil, water, air and surface samples collected over 2 years. But State Environmental Health Program manager Ali Hamade says a recently released draft report indicates no health concerns. 

Coal Ash Questions

Mar 10, 2014
Dan Bross / KUAC

The Alaska Department of Health is looking into possible coal ash health impacts from Aurora Energy’s downtown Fairbanks plant. Coal ash is increasingly coming under scrutiny around the country due to contamination from large scale spills, but as KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the situation in Fairbanks is different.