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Local News

NRG responds to report on coal ash pollution in Will County

A barge floats down the Illinois River on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, while navigating through the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Ill.
A barge floats down the Illinois River on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, while navigating through the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Ill.

The parent company of Midwest Generation, the energy company named in a recent report on toxic coal ash pollution in Illinois, claimed that the data were “not new information.”

David Knox, a spokesman for NRG, said Midwest Generation has been working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on groundwater management plans for more than a decade and the company is in compliance with the plans.

He added that there was important context missing from the report.

“It appears the report creates a misleading picture by comparing the monitoring results to drinking water standards and ignoring background levels that can show existing groundwater issues,” Knox said in a written statement. “Most importantly, as a matter of safe drinking water, while the report compares the results to drinking water standards, the water is not used for drinking water purposes.”

Knox said that when compared with the quality of groundwater naturally flowing into the area, the groundwater at the plants do not show a statistically significant increase in the levels of toxic pollutants.

The one exception is at the Lincoln Stone Quarry in Joliet which, Knox said, is well known. The quarry already has a state-approved remedy in place, an extraction well system that keeps groundwater from flowing off site. It is intended to treat the impacted groundwater detected by monitoring.

He said since implementing the system, the groundwater quality around the quarry is “stable to improving.”

Finally, Knox said since NRG acquired Midwest Generation in 2014, it’s invested about a half billion dollars in converting the Joliet plants from coal to gas and installing emission reductions systems at the Will County Generation Station near Romeoville.

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