Wednesday, February 20, 2008

S-C Responsible for "Non-hazardous" Spill at Coal Plant

The latest news from our environmental heroes at Santee Cooper (who recently submitted to the largest consent decree in our state's history after gettign caught red handed attempting to build the coal plants in Cross, South Carolina without a permit):

Santee Cooper detects spill
Nonhazardous wastewater leaks into swampy area

By Tony Bartelme
The Post and Courier
Saturday, February 16, 2008

GEORGETOWN — A broken pipe in a slurry pond at Santee Cooper's Winyah power plant caused as much as 200,000 gallons of limestone-laced water to spill into a swampy area next to the sprawling facility before crews contained the breach.

Santee Cooper officials said the wastewater in the pond isn't hazardous, and late Friday the area around the spill didn't appear to be affected. State health investigators took water samples but hadn't determined whether the spill caused any environmental damage.

Santee Cooper crews noticed a leak in the pond dike Thursday morning during a routine inspection of the dike system, said Phil Pierce, Santee Cooper vice president of fossil fuel and hydro generation.

The pond collects limestone slurry from the plant's sulfur dioxide air pollution scrubbers, Pierce said. A private company next to the plant uses the same material to make wallboard.

A 30-inch pipe used in the dike's construction during the 1980s apparently failed, he said. Once crews noticed water leaking from the dike, they contained most of it by piling rocks on it and diverting it into a ditched area. They pumped the spilled water back into the pond.

Nancy Cave of the Coastal Conservation League said the leak stands as a warning for the potential environmental damage that could occur from leaks from other, more dangerous waste-containment areas at coal-fired power plants.

Santee Cooper feels "this incident and its swift containment are proof that the utility's environmental policies and procedures are effective," said Mollie Gore, a public relations specialist with the utility.


Billy Wallace said...

So is this the fuzzy math: our inability to contain “nonhazardous waste” shows how good we will be at containing hazardous waste?

happy sparkle bunny said...

So let me get this straight- they use this slurry to remove pollutants from the plants smoke stack.

The hazardous pollutants are captured in the slurry and somehow after capture become non-hazardous?

Did the heavy metals in the slurry disappear or is this another trick by DHEC to allow yet another major polluter to continue operating in an unsafe manner.

What is DHEC testing for? Better yet what AREN'T they testing for?