Northeastern Station

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Northeastern Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by American Electric Power near Oologah, Oklahoma. The plant's coal waste site includes the Northeastern Station Bottom Ash Pond.

Unit 4 was closed in April 2016.[1]

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Retirement

Under an agreement between Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PSO will retire Unit 4 (473 MW) of its Northeastern Station in 2016, and Unit 3 (473 MW) of the station by 2026. In addition, PSO will install emissions controls on Unit 3. The agreement does not affect Units 1 and 2, which are fired by natural gas.[2] Unit 4 was closed in April 2016.[3]

Plant Data

  • Owner: Public Service Company of Oklahoma
  • Parent Company: American Electric Power
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 946 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 3: 473 MW (1979), Unit 4: 473 MW (1980)
  • Location: 7300 East Hwy. 88, Oologah, OK 74053
  • GPS Coordinates: 36.431667, -95.700833
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 9,232,076 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 34,645 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 18,353 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 218 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Northeastern Station

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.[4] 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.[5]

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

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 62 $450,000,000
Heart attacks 94 $10,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,100 $55,000
Hospital admissions 44 $1,000,000
Chronic bronchitis 38 $17,000,000
Asthma ER visits 67 $25,000

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

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Oklahoma, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[6] The report mentioned Oklahoma based Northeastern Station as having groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[7]

Study finds dangerous level of hexavalent chromium at Northeastern Station's coal waste site

The study "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash," released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011, reported that the level of hexavalent chromium, a highly potent cancer-causing chemical, at a coal ash site associated with the Asheville Plant was 83 parts per billion.[8] That level is 4,150 times as high as California's drinking water goal, and 66% above North Carolina's groundwater standard. In all, the study cited 29 sites in 17 states where hexavalent chromium contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash as well as from studies by EarthJustice, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Sierra Club.[9][10][11][12] It included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin. In Oklahoma, the Northeastern Station in Oologah was reported as having high levels of chromium seeping into groundwater.[8]

According to the report, the electric power industry is the leading source of chromium and chromium compounds released into the environment, representing 24 percent of releases by all industries in 2009.[8]

A press release about the report read:

Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.[13]

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

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Citizen groups

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "AEP plans to add more solar, wind, spend $15 billion over next three years," Platts, 26 May 2016
  2. Paul Monies, "Proposed settlement would retire coal units at Oologah power plant," NewsOK, April 24, 2012
  3. "AEP plans to add more solar, wind, spend $15 billion over next three years," Platts, 26 May 2016
  4. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  5. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  6. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  7. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash" Earthjustice & Sierra Club, February 1, 2011.
  9. "Damage Case Report for Coal Compustion Wastes," August 2008
  10. U.S. EPA Proposed Coal Ash Rule, 75 Fed. Reg. 35128
  11. EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," August 2010
  12. EarthJustice and Environmental Integrity Project, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites," May 2010
  13. "Coal ash waste tied to cancer-causing chemicals in water supplies" Alicia Bayer, Examiner.com, February 1, 2011.

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