Prairie Research Institute

Coal Ash

Like other states throughout the nation, Illinois is working toward solutions that reduce negative impacts from surface impoundments of coal combustion residuals (CCR, often called coal ash). CCRs are byproducts of burning coal and therefore they contain elements present in coal, including arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, lithium, manganese, molybdenum, radium, selenium, sulfur, and thallium. These elements can persist and accumulate in the environment and be associated with negative health impacts.

The Prairie Research Institute established an interdisciplinary Coal Ash Response Team (CART) to assess coal ash related information that was available from the Illinois scientific surveys (a bibliography of PRI coal ash publications is available online). The Coal Ash Response Team’s report includes information about potential impacts of coal ash impoundments, a review of federal and state laws and regulations, and an overview of how coal ash can be beneficially used. Efforts by the CART are intended to be of value to all stakeholders, including the Illinois EPA, non-governmental organizations, site operators, and research institutions.

Coal Ash Response Team Members

  • Chair: Randy Locke, Principal Research Scientist and Head of Geochemistry, Illinois State Geological Survey
  • Vice Chair: Laura Keefer, Illinois State Hydrologist, Head of Watershed Science, and Fluvial Geomorphologist, Illinois State Water Survey
  • Trish Barker, Associate Director of Strategic Communications, Prairie Research Institute
  • Scott Elrick, Principal Research Scientist and Head of Coal, Bedrock Geology & Industrial Minerals, Illinois State Geological Survey
  • Veronica Hemrich, Policy Analyst, Prairie Research Institute
  • Anne Huber, Geologic Information Curator, Illinois State Geological Survey
  • Walt Kelly, Groundwater Geochemist and Head of Groundwater Science Section, Illinois State Water Survey
  • Kishore Rajagopalan, State Pollution Prevention Scientist and Associate Director for Applied Research on Industrial and Environmental Systems, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
  • Alison Stodola, Assistant Aquatic Biologist, Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Rick Winkel, Deputy Executive Director, Prairie Research Institute
  • Mark Yacucci, Head of Geoscience Information Stewardship, Illinois State Geological Survey