Before coal ash was more regulated, companies dumped tons of it in low areas of the Isthmus and elsewhere. Whether it has contaminated Madison’s water is unclear.
Wasted Places is a collaborative investigation by six nonprofit newsrooms into federal and state programs designed to cleanup and redevelop polluted tracts known as brownfields.The project was coordinated by the Investigative News Network, and reported and written by the Connecticut Health Investigative Team, City Limits, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and INN.
Sites that have been funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s brownfields program, as of August 2012.
The stated goals of the federal government’s Brownfields Program are to fund the cleanup of contamination, to improve the quality of life of blighted communities and to provide economic stimulus. But an investigation by nonprofit newsrooms across the country, coordinated by the Investigative News Network, found problems in every community examined.
While the state has made some progress with the backlog in the past two decades, a “startling” number of plant closings during the recent recession has created “an entirely new generation of brownfields,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.