Information about Coal Ash at Wateree Station
Excerpt from February 2010 Report on Coal Ash by the Environmental Integrity Project.
ENTITY/COMPANY - LOCATION South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) – Wateree Station 142 Wateree Station Road Eastover, SC 29044 Richland County GPS Coordinates: 33°49'35.04"N, 80°37'22.08"WSouth Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) – Wateree Station 142 Wateree Station Road Eastover, SC 29044 Richland County GPS Coordinates: 33°49'35.04"N, 80°37'22.08"W
Groundwater monitoring around the Wateree Station‘s coal ash impoundment has measured arsenic at 18 times the federal MCL (Fretwell, 2009a). The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) cited the plant in 2001 for violations of state groundwater standards, but did not take any further regulatory action over the contamination. Recent evidence shows that the arsenic contamination has migrated to an adjacent property and is being accumulated in biota in the Wateree River.
Demonstrated on-site damage to groundwater moving off-site. Demonstrated off-site damage of surface waters and fish.
Test of Proof
On-site groundwater monitoring found arsenic contamination up to 18 times the federal MCL (Fretwell, 2009a). Private testing has found that seeps leaking off-site from the impoundment contain arsenic levels 5 times the state standard for arsenic (Bartelme, 2009). Fish living in the Wateree River in close proximity to the plant were found to have elevated tissue levels of arsenic in comparison to upstream and downstream populations. One catfish was found to have arsenic tissue levels of 500 parts per billion (Fretwell, 2009b).
Incident and Date Damage Occurred / Identified
Arsenic contamination was first detected in the late 1990‘s. In response, the SC DHEC cited the plant for violating state groundwater standards, but did not take any further action after the plant agreed to take action to reduce contamination from the impoundment (Fretwell, 2009a). Recent evidence shows that arsenic contamination continues to be a concern.
DHEC cited the plant for violations of state groundwater standards in 2001.
Fly ash and bottom ash.
Type(s) of Waste Management Unit
An unlined surface impoundment.
Active or Inactive Waste Management Unit
Migration of contaminants from coal ash leachate to groundwater and eventual discharge to surface water.
Coal combustion wastes produced at Wateree Station are dumped into an unlined 80-acre impoundment, which has a capacity of 52,272,000 cubic feet. Data from two on-site wells show arsenic at levels 18 times the primary MCL, and leaks have been found in the containment wall between the impoundment and the river that have arsenic levels of 1.9 mg/L, 190 times the primary MCL (Fretwell, 2009a). Testing on an adjacent property found arsenic levels at 5 times the state limit (Bartelme, 2009). Fish tissue samples taken near the impoundment indicate that the arsenic is being accumulated in the biota of the Wateree River with one catfish having arsenic tissue levels of 500 parts per billion (Fretwell, 2009b). The site is upstream of the Congaree National Park, which is reportedly one of the largest contiguous sections of floodplain forest in North America. Neighboring landowners have filed a lawsuit to stop the contamination on their property.