Violation Notice Issued For Alleged Contamination At Vermilion Power Station

Discolored groundwater leaching into a river
photo courtesy of Eco-Justice Collaborative

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has issued a violation notice to Vistra Energy Corporation for alleged surface water contamination at its retired Vermilion Power Station near Oakwood, Illinois.

In May, the Illinois EPA conducted a stream survey of the Middle Fork Vermilion River near three coal ash ponds owned by Vistra, and found water with “heavily stained reddish-brown discoloration” seeping from the riverbank. The violation notice says the seeps were discharging into the river, staining sediment and rocks, and creating “offensive conditions in the Middle Fork.”

Sanjay Sofat, chief of the Illinois EPA Bureau of Water says the seeps may violate state environmental laws.

“We have sent a violation notice to the company in June of 2018 alleging violations of the Clean Water Act and the Pollution Control Board regulations. And you may also know that there's a citizen's suit filed in the federal court and we'll be monitoring that very closely.”

The Prairie Rivers Network filed a lawsuit in May against Vistra, claiming toxic chemicals and heavy metals from the company’s coal ash ponds are contaminating groundwater and the Middle Fork river.

discolored water entering the Middle Fork river through seeps on the riverbank

Discolored seeps on the riverbank under Vistra's coal ash ponds can be seen entering the Middle Fork branch of the Vermilion River

Eco-Justice Collaborative

Another violation notice was issued in 2012 to Dynegy Energy Midwest for exceeding groundwater quality standards at monitoring wells near the coal ash impoundments. Dynegy merged with Vistra early this year.

Vistra has until August 5 to respond to the latest violation notice. The company declined to comment in time for this story.

Story source: WILL