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Big Rivers Electric: coal ash spill in Ohio County poses no threat to public health

A coal ash spill at Big River Electric's generating station in Centertown, KY caused low visibility and a road closure.
Ohio County Sheriff's Office
A coal ash spill at Big River Electric's generating station in Centertown on Wednesday caused low visibility and a road closure.

Big Rivers Electric Corporation says there’s no health threat to the public following an accident Wednesday at its generating station in Ohio County.

According to the utility, a coal ash silo began leaking during maintenance work at the D.B. Wilson Station in Centertown. The silo contains fly ash, a byproduct from power generation.

Three contractors were taken to a hospital to be examined, but all other workers were deemed safe and power plant operations were uninterrupted.

A temporary dust cloud resulted in low visibility and a nearby road closure for safety.

“We want to thank Ohio County emergency crews for their quick response this morning,” said Big Rivers President & CEO Bob Berry. “The Wilson Station Emergency Response Team also moved quickly to reach the contractors and evaluate the area for safety risks. I commend Wilson Station employees for taking immediate action to correct the problem.”

D.B. Wilson is a single-unit, 417-megawatt plant near the Green River that was commissioned in 1984. The steam turbine power plant is located on State Route 85 in Centertown near the McLean County Line.

Coal ash contains toxic chemicals, and fly ash can linger in the air longer and travel farther.

Big Rivers says it’s in contact with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection for assistance with cleanup.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.