Dozens of concerned residents near a Midwest Generation power plant came to hear what the company’s plans were for dealing with the coal ash pollution at the old Lincoln Stone Quarry site.
Representatives from NRG, Midwest Generation’s parent company, held the public meeting at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Joliet on Tuesday. Residents who lived nearby could learn about the coal ash pollution at the site and what the company was going to do about it. The meeting was called because sampling wells at the power plant have tested positive for coal ash pollution, although NRG said it knows the coal ash has not spread to contaminate nearby wells.
While NRG set up informational poster boards about its testing and possible remedies for the site, many attendees were frustrated because they felt their concerns weren’t properly recorded. There was no formal process NRG representatives used to record the feedback of residents, although the company did take down the information of about 10 people who wanted their drinking water tested.
Still, the residents and environmentalist groups at the meeting were largely dissatisfied and wanted to be reassured that their drinking water was not at risk of contamination.
In a letter to the company, Jennifer Cassel, an attorney for Earthjustice, requested that NRG “regularly provide updated information and hold public meetings for residents interested in and impacted by coal ash contamination from the Lincoln Stone Quarry.”
NRG also explained different ways it could address the issue. The two main types of remedies involved either covering the site or removing the coal ash entirely. While many of the residents appeared to favor the removal of the coal ash, NRG representatives explained that process would take 20 years and possibly cause further contamination.
The Joliet power plant “has operated this quarry for decades and has consistently complied with permit terms,” said Pat Hammond, a spokeswoman from NRG. “There has been no impact on the neighborhood and we’re going to make sure that there is no impact in the future.”
Hammond said NRG was discussing putting together another meeting for residents to get more information about the process, but no specific date has been set.
NRG’s customer care phone number is 855-500-8703 and it has a contact page on its website, nrg.com.