Environmental group accuses Ameren of dumping too much waste in Missouri River

3 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago Tuesday, October 23 2018 Oct 23, 2018 Tuesday, October 23, 2018 2:21:00 PM CDT October 23, 2018 in News
By: Ian Nickens, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - Environmental activist groups Sierra Club and Earth Justice are in court this week saying electric utility Ameren is dumping billions of gallons of harmful wastewater into the Missouri River, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is allowing them to get away with it.

Both sides are bringing witnesses to the Missouri Administrative Court to argue whether Ameren should be allowed to continue its current cooling practices at its coal-fired electric plant in Labadie.

Ameren uses the coal to light fires and boil water, which begins the process to generate electricity. As the coal burns, Ameren disposes of expended heat by letting hot water wash out into the river and replacing it with cool water. However, there is another way to keep power plants cool called a "closed cooling system," which takes in some water, but uses a cooling facility to cool the water for reuse instead of dumping it and taking more water from nearby sources.

Usually, the DNR would test power plants like the one in Labadie to make sure they have the best available technology for the environment, but Sierra Club said the DNR skipped that test for Ameren.

"The Labadie coal plant is putting so much thermal pollution into the Missouri River and-- if you built a coal plant today, it would be illegal to build a plant like that," said Missouri Sierra Club Chapter Director John Hickey.

Hickey also said the increase in water temperature from the hot water Ameren is dumping could harm fish that are used to a cooler water temperature.

Ameren Missouri denies claims like these. It said it has conducted studies that show the coal plant doesn't have an impact on the river, and the temperature difference in the water between when it is taken in and when it returns to the river is two degrees Celcius.

The plaintiffs in this case, the Sierra Club and Earth Justice, are arguing the hot water dumping, along with ash that makes its way into the water, is killing wildlife and poisoning drinkable water.

The defendant, Ameren, is arguing its practice stays within legal guidelines.

This process started in 2015, when, according to St. Louis Public Radio, the Sierra Club filed an appeal to Missouri, saying the permit the Department of Natural Resources granted Ameren didn't provide enough guidelines to protect the environment and it violates the Clean Water Act.

"The Missouri River is not Ameren's sewer to put in their coal-ash waste, to put in their hot water, and whatever else they want," Hickey said. "This is everybody's river, and DNR and Ameren should follow the Clean Water Act and comply. That's what we want to see."

This isn't the first time the Sierra Club and Ameren have butted heads.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ameren settled a lawsuit with the organization over air quality for $2 million in 2016. 

More News

Grid
List
WAYNESVILLE - The Pulaski County Prosecutor filed charges against a suspect after he allegedly attacked a man with a knife.... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 10:53:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - There is a "true emergency" right now at the southern border, a Missouri congressman said Monday. ... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 8:04:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police confirmed the man involved in the deadly crash over the weekend has been in more than... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 6:18:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missourians have had to adjust their daily lives to the cold weather for weeks now. For some people,... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 4:25:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLE COUNTY - From not answering their cell phones, to trying multiple apps and buying equipment for their landline, phone... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 4:16:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Officers Association on Monday endorsed Columbia Mayor Brian Treece for re-election at a press conference... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 3:44:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Michael Hoyt had an emotional first visit to the site of the crash that killed his sister over... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 3:41:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — An unidentified MU student has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, the university confirmed in a news release on... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 3:11:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are investigating after a person was found dead inside of ABC Chinese Cuisine restaurant Monday morning. ... More >>
2 days ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 2:18:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
BOSS, Mo. (AP) — The Dent County Sheriff's Office is investigating a murder-suicide involving two brothers. Investigators say the... More >>
2 days ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 12:07:00 PM CST February 18, 2019 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Twenty-five years after Michael Davis died from injuries suffered in a brutal fraternity hazing ritual... More >>
2 days ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 9:40:00 AM CST February 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY --Efforts by lawmakers to increase literacy rates among Missouri students are on the drawing board again during the... More >>
2 days ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 8:23:00 AM CST February 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA – At their meeting Monday night, Columbia City Council members will discuss a bridge repair project that could cause... More >>
2 days ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 7:08:00 AM CST February 18, 2019 in Top Stories
(CNN) -- Police have released the names of the victims in Friday's mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois. Five people... More >>
2 days ago Monday, February 18 2019 Feb 18, 2019 Monday, February 18, 2019 5:26:10 AM CST February 18, 2019 in News
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — An initial background check failed to detect a felony conviction that should have barred the man... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 17 2019 Feb 17, 2019 Sunday, February 17, 2019 4:34:00 PM CST February 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Tiger Food Pantry is hosting "Caring Bearing Sharing" at the MU Student Center from 4 - 6 p.m.... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 17 2019 Feb 17, 2019 Sunday, February 17, 2019 4:08:00 PM CST February 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A fire destroyed the interior of a north Columbia home and caused a "total loss," according to Boone... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, February 17 2019 Feb 17, 2019 Sunday, February 17, 2019 12:00:00 PM CST February 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — MU saw an uptick in reports of discrimination and harassment in the 2017-2018 school year from the... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, February 17 2019 Feb 17, 2019 Sunday, February 17, 2019 10:43:00 AM CST February 17, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 36°
3pm 38°
4pm 38°
5pm 37°
6pm 36°