American Electric Power (AEP) has agreed to close a coal plant and make changes at two others to resolve alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations.
According to consent decrees filed in two West Virginia federal district courts, the company on Friday agreed to settle allegations from numerous citizen groups that the coal-fired John E. Amos, Kammer, and Mitchell plants in West Virginia repeatedly discharged pollution into local rivers and streams, violating limits set under the CWA.
The groups said AEP violated the CWA under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System portion of the law, which controls water pollution from single sources, like coal-fired power plants. They contended that each of the three plants was polluting local waterways with illegal levels of selenium, mercury, and other heavy metals.
Under the settlement, AEP will be required to pay nearly $100,000 in fines, penalties, and fees. It must also limit future water pollution at the Amos plant by June 2015. The company must also convert the Mitchell plant’s wet coal ash pond to a dry ash containment facility.
AEP had already tentatively slated the Kammer plant for retirement, but the settlement calls for closure of that plant by December 2015.
The groups involved in the suit include the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Sierra Club.
—Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)