Plant Scherer

An on-line article about Plant Scherer published on Monday is raising new concerns about the nation’s biggest coal plant and its impact on the health of Monroe Countians.

A left-leaning, environmentally-based website called Grist published a story by Max Blau on Monday that says testing of well water around Plant Scherer is showing troubling levels of harmful elements.

The article focuses on Tony Bowdoin of Juliette and how his family helped bring Plant Scherer to Juliette back in the 1980s. Only at the end does it reveal that Bowdoin now has Stage 4 color cancer and his well has tested positive for strontium, a constituent of coal ash linked to possible bone damage, and hexavalent chromium at a level of 4.3 parts per billion, according to the article.

The story says that Bowdoin has been helping Fletcher Sams of the Atlamaha Riverkeepers collect well samples from area residents and none of them have come back “clean”.

Sid Newsome of Juliette told the Reporter that his well water also tested over the safe limit for those harmful elements, and said it’s unsettling. He said he thinks the Riverkeepers may be collecting the well test results to file a lawsuit.

For its part, Georgia Power “stand[s] by the data delivered” from 57 groundwater monitoring wells at Scherer, indicating there’s been no seepage from Plant Scherer’s coal ash ponds, said the article. Plant Scherer is converting its ash pond system to dry ash over the next several years with plans to use the remnants of the plant’s burned coal to make cinderblocks for selling to suppliers.