Environmental Groups Claim Illegal Discharges Into Ohio River

Mar 17, 2014

Mill Creek Power Plant
Credit Broken Sidewalk

Two environmental groups announced on Monday (March 17) they plan to sue Louisville Gas and Electric for what they say are illegal discharges from the company’s Mill Creek Power Plant into the Ohio River.

Local Sierra Club members installed a camera across the river from the Mill Creek plant, capturing a year’s worth of time-lapsed photos.

Sierra Club organizer Tom Pearce says the pictures show LG&E released water from its coal ash ponds into the Ohio River constantly, which he says is violation of the company’s permit.

“Their permit says they will occasionally discharge, and we wanted to establish the fact that they are continuously discharging,” says Pearce.

Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal for electricity, and the company stores the material in landfills and ponds at Mill Creek. The ash is laced with heavy metals and other toxic pollutants.

The Notice of Intent to Sue gives LG&E 60 days to come into compliance with its permit; if that doesn’t happen, the environmental groups say they’ll file a lawsuit under the federal Clean Water Act.

An LG&E spokeswoman says the company won’t comment on pending litigation, and a spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Water says he doesn’t believe the releases are illegal.