New Factsheets: Accidents Waiting to Happen

Across the country, thousands of miles of waterways are threatened by at least one of five major potential sources of contamination: coal ash pits, oil pipelines and trains, fracking wastewater pits, animal waste lagoons, and toxic chemical storage facilities. These five factsheets provide summaries of each threat, with recommendations for protecting America's waterways now and in the future.

Gideon Weissman

Former Policy Analyst, Frontier Group

In February 2019, Frontier Group and Environment America Research and Policy Center published Accidents Waiting to Happen: Toxic Threats to Our Rivers, Lakes, and Streams. The analysis found thousands of “accidents waiting to happen” across the country, including 31 toxic facilities in flood zones in New Jersey; 170 hog waste lagoons in flood zones in North Carolina; and at least 326 coal ash ponds at coal plants within a quarter-mile of a waterway. Many of these facilities could, in the event of a spill, devastate the environment and threaten human health. The following factsheets provide summary information on each threat, along with policy recommendations to protect America’s waterways now and for the future.

Coal ash pits: Hundreds of coal ash pits sit near the banks of American waterways, threatening toxic spills that can cause longterm damage to the environment and public health. Download factsheet.


Fracking waste: Toxic wastewater left over from fracking operations, often stored in pits that can leak or overflow, threatens America’s rivers, lakes and streams. Download factsheet.


Animal waste lagoons: Waste lagoons used by industrial agricultural operations threaten spills that can cause catastrophic damage to America’s rivers, lakes and streams. Download factsheet.


Industrial facilities: Industrial facilities across the U.S. store and use millions of tons of toxic chemicals. Many of these facilities sit near waterways and threaten spills that can harm the environment and public health. Download factsheet.


Oil rail and pipeline: Millions of gallons of crude oil are transported daily across the country via freight rail and pipelines that frequently cross or travel alongside vulnerable rivers and streams. Download factsheet.


Gideon Weissman

Former Policy Analyst, Frontier Group

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