Download the full paper and end notes
Clean Water Action’s analysis of supporting documents for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Proposed Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category confirms that power plant discharges to surface water often include contaminants that experts consider to be “contaminants of concern” when found in drinking water. For example, arsenic, lead, selenium and mercury are all commonly found in power plant discharges to water, and all are contaminants of long-standing concern in drinking water. Other common power plant discharge contaminants, such as vanadium and bromides, are emerging more recently as drinking water challenges. All of these contaminants pose public health risks and present challenges for Public Water Systems. This situation highlights the importance of controlling pollution such as these power plant discharge contaminants whose presence in source water can lead to increased drinking water treatment costs and higher water bills for consumers. EPA has the opportunity to protect drinking water sources when the Proposed Rule, Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Category is finalized.
Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of toxic water pollution in the United States, dumping billions of pounds of pollution into America’s rivers, lakes, and streams each year. These pollutants, including lead and mercury, are dangerous to humans and wreak havoc in our watersheds even in very small amounts. It’s time for power plants to stop using our rivers, lakes and streams as open sewers to dump their waste! Help us tell EPA to protect our water and our health by ending the “free pass to pollute” that power plants have gotten for the past thirty years.