Ottumwa Generating Station

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm| Climate change}} Ottumwa Generating Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Alliant Energy near Ottumwa, Iowa.

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Interstate Power and Light Company
  • Parent Company: Alliant Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 726 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 726 MW (1981)
  • Location: 20775 Power Plant Rd., Ottumwa, IA 52501
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.096889, -92.553889
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 4,714,088 tons (2006), 5,394,214.26 tons (2008)[1]
  • SO2 Emissions: 14,172 tons (2006), 15,694.37 tons (2008)[2]
  • SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • NOx Emissions: 7,356 tons (2006), 3,693.69 tons (2008)[2]
  • Mercury Emissions: 404 lb. (2005)

Pollution controls

In 2012, Alliant spent $345 million on pollution controls for the power plant, creating 400 jobs and reducing yearly mercury emissions from 150 pounds to 15 pounds. The controls also cut 4,900 tons of SO2 pollution.[3]

Coal Waste Sites

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Ottumwa

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 Ottumwa

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 30 $220,000,000
Heart attacks 46 $5,000,000
Asthma attacks 500 $26,000
Hospital admissions 22 $500,000
Chronic bronchitis 18 $8,100,000
Asthma ER visits 31 $12,000

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

Articles and Resources


  1. Iowa Operating Permit Application, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  2. 2.0 2.1 Iowa Operating Permit Application, Form 5.0, Title V Annual Emissions Summary
  3. Matt Kasper, "Pollution Control Retrofit Creates 400 Jobs In Iowa: Project Is A ‘Win-Win For Iowa’s Economy And Environment,’" Think Progress, Aug. 27, 2012.
  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

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