Report Focuses On Coal Plant Water Pollution

STATE – A coalition of environmental groups released a report this week, “Closing the Floodgates: How the Coal Industry Is Poisoning Our Water and How We Can Stop It,” which reviewed water permits for 386 coal plants across the country, including three in New Jersey. It found that nationwide, nearly 70 percent of the coal plants that discharge  coal ash and scrubber wastewater are allowed to dump unlimited amounts of arsenic, boron, cadmium, mercury, and selenium into public waters, in violation of the Clean Water Act.

 Of New Jersey’s three active coal power plants, only one of them, the Logan Generating Plant in South Jersey on the banks of the Delaware River, has a permit which limits dumping of any toxic metal, according to the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club. This plant’s permit limits only arsenic, leaving no limits for boron, cadmium, mercury, selenium, or lead.

“Discharges from the Logan Plant have a direct impact on the Delaware River and Bay. It is a major source of water pollution that impacts not only water quality, but our fisheries,” said Jeff Tittel, Direct of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

The other two plants, PSEG’s Hudson and Mercer Generating Stations, are phasing out their ash ponds, but do not have permits which bar them from ever discharging toxic metals from their facilities according to the New Jersey Chapter oof the Sierra Club.

“People don’t understand that the mercury and greenhouse gases coming from coal fired power plants also have an impact on water. Not only do these plants pollute the air, but they pollute our water with toxic chemicals robbing us of clean water as well. Between killing fish on their intakes, releasing superheated water causing algae blooms or toxic chemicals ending up in our waterways from these plants,” said Tittel.

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