Environmental groups file complaint about Midwest Gen ash storage

The Illinois Pollution Control Board got a legal complaint filed Oct. 3 against Midwest Generation for alleged violations of Illinois state solid waste and groundwater laws at four coal-fired facilities in Illinois.

The four coal facilities are Joliet 29, Powerton, Waukegan and Will County. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) filed the complaint on behalf of the ELPC and Prairie Rivers Network. The Illinois-based Citizens Against Ruining the Environment also joined the complaint.

According to the complaint, leaking coal ash ponds at the four plants are contaminating groundwater with toxic pollution in violation of state solid waste and water pollution control laws. During the process of burning coal, Midwest Generation’s coal-fired power plants generates coal ash pollution and other waste, which is dumped in large impoundments without adequate safeguards to prevent pollution from entering groundwater, EIP noted.

“Midwest Generation’s own monitoring reports show that the coal ash dumps are leaking toxics such as arsenic, selenium, boron, and others into the groundwater at levels that exceed federal and state drinking water standards. EIP’s investigation has documented hundreds of exceedances of federal and state drinking water standards.” said EIP Attorney Abel Russ.

The complaint charges that Midwest Gen is violating state open dumping and water pollution laws.

Midwest Gen is a unit of Edison International (NYSE: EIX) that operates several coal-fired power plants in Illinois. Midwest Gen said in an Oct. 4 statement: “We have not been served with the complaint, but from what we have seen, it raises nothing new. We will be prepared to defend our operations vigorously against parties who have long sought any avenue to try to close down coal-fired power plants.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.