Marshall Steam Station

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Marshall Steam Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Duke Energy near Terrell, North Carolina.

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Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: Duke Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,996 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 350 MW (1965), 350 MW (1966), 648 MW (1969), 648 MW (1970)
  • Location: 8320 East NC Hwy. 150, Terrell, NC 28682
  • GPS Coordinates: 35.595278, -80.964444
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 11,425,788 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 85,050 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 14,319 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 486 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Marshall Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[1] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[2]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Marshall Steam Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 130 $960,000,000
Heart attacks 200 $22,000,000
Asthma attacks 2,200 $110,000
Hospital admissions 98 $2,300,000
Chronic bronchitis 80 $36,000,000
Asthma ER visits 120 $43,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Renewal plant permit approved, with modifications

On Jan. 18, 2011, renewal permits for Duke Energy's Marshall Steam Station, Riverbend Steam Station, and G.G. Allen Steam Plant were approved by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources division of water quality. Riverbend and Allen steam stations in Gaston County.The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits were renewed with some changes for the coal-fired power facilities that allow the discharge of treated wastewater to the Catawba River Basin, according to information from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.[3]

According to the department, the changes include:[3]

  • Quarterly monitoring for mercury was added to outfall from the coal ash ponds at the Riverbend Steam Station. This will establish a monitoring plan for mercury, selenium and arsenic that is consistent for all three permits.
  • Fish tissue monitoring, at least once per permit cycle, has been added to all three permits.
  • Semi-annual in-stream monitoring was added for arsenic, selenium, mercury, chromium, lead, cadmium, copper, zinc and total dissolved solids. The monitoring is to occur upstream and downstream of ash pond outfalls at all three facilities.
  • Liquid coal ash storage structures shall meet the dam design and safety requirements according to the state administrative code.

The permits also require Duke to install groundwater monitoring wells and to comply with groundwater standards, according to information from the state. While the permits require monitoring, the state didn’t go far enough, according to Catawba Riverkeeper David Merryman: “It’s disturbing to me that the state is allowing the unlimited release of mercury, selenium and arsenic into our waters." Merryman said he plans to look into the option of appealing the state’s decision on the permits.[3]

Citizen action

May 3, 2012: Activists block shipment of mountaintop removal coal

Activists block tracks bringing mountaintop removal coal to Marshall Steam Plant.
Activists "brand" coal trains bound for Marshall plant with Apple logo.

On May 3, activists protested mountaintop removal mining by locking themselves to train tracks, preventing coal train loads from entering Duke Energy's Marshall Steam Station in North Carolina. The activists, affiliated with RAMPS, Katuah Earth First!, Greenpeace and Mountain Keepers said they would not leave until Duke agreed to end its use of mountaintop removal coal operations. The power burned in Marshall is used to power Apple's iCloud data center.[4]

Coal Waste Site

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundment

Marshall Steam Station's Active Ash Pond is on the EPA's official June 2009 list of Coal Combustion Residue (CCR) Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event.[5]

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  2. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Sharon McBrayer, "State approves permit for Catawba County coal-fired power station" Hickory Daily Record, Jan. 18, 2011.
  4. "Breaking: Activists Block Shipment of Mountain Top Removal Coal" QuitCoal.org, May 3, 2012.
  5. Coal waste

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