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Herrington Lake Contamination: Delayed Action, Prolonged Exposure

If you’ve ever seen the Simpsons episode wherein they caught a three-eyed fish in a pond that was contaminated by Springfield’s nuclear plant, you’d think of nothing more than it being a funny and entertaining cartoon.

Not if it was really happening in real life.

Research conducted in and around the coal ash-polluted Herrington Lake in Kentucky showed that 1 out of 10 fish was deformed. For perspective, the average deformity rate of fish is at 1 out of 200. Furthermore, fish sampling in the area yielded 90% of the samples were more than Kentucky’s selenium presence in fish.

To top things off, Kentucky Utilities has yet to deploy a corrective action plan and estimates a 1-2 year time frame to conduct its own fish analysis. These non-actions and delayed actions happen despite a $25,000 fine in civil penalties by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Practice.

It is frustrating to see how KY continues to disregard public health and safety by not doing anything about the six million cubic yards of coal ash in the lake. What’s worse, public protests from the residents themselves have yet to result in concrete and lasting action.

While it is heartwarming to know that actions both legal (from alliances and unions) and personal (from individual persons writing letters of concern) persist over the years, it is clear that a response from the concerned parties are already very sorely overdue. The lake is used by citizens in many ways: kayaking, swimming, catching fish – and all of these activities come with the threat to personal health and safety that will not only manifest in the people who live around the lake, but also for those who are yet to be born. What we need now is more clout on the legislative level to expedite the cases and see real and lasting action, for the safety of everyone.



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