Wateree Station

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

{{#badges: CoalSwarm| Climate change}} Wateree Station is a 772 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by SCANA near Eastover, South Carolina.

Loading map...

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 4,173,114 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 32,797 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 5,821 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 71 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Wateree Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[1] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[2]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Wateree Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 64 $470,000,000
Heart attacks 92 $10,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,100 $55,000
Hospital admissions 47 $1,100,000
Chronic bronchitis 39 $17,000,000
Asthma ER visits 61 $23,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Permit Issues

On March 8, 2010 it was announced that the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control agreed to eliminate arsenic limits in a wastewater discharge permit for South Carolina Electric & Gas Company's (SCE&G) Wateree Station. SCE&G needs State approval for its coal ash ponds because wastewater from the site runs directly into the Wateree River. The ponds take waste from the company's 40-year-old coal-fired plant. Since the 1990s, high levels of arsenic, a carcinogen, have been found in groundwater and in seepage to the Wateree River from coal ash ponds at the power plant. Sierra Club and other environmental groups are posing to fight the permit on the grounds that arsenic ought not be eliminated.[3]

Coal ash lawsuit

On August 20, 2012, the Catawba Riverkeeper announced that SCE&G legally agreed to remove all of the coal ash from unlined impoundments adjacent to the Wateree River and either recycle it or move it into lined landfills away from the river. The settlement will also speed up the schedule for the complete removal of coal ash from the plant's impoundments, with that work now set to be complete in eight years.

In 2001, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) cited the Wateree plant for violations of state groundwater standards but did not take further regulatory action. In 2009, runoff containing high levels of arsenic was found to be seeping from an impoundment there, contaminating groundwater and running into the Wateree River. Groundwater monitoring around the plant's coal ash impoundments found arsenic at 18 times the safe limits set by the Safe Drinking Water Act; arsenic was also found to be accumulating in organisms living in the river.

In response, environmental advocates sued SCE&G in early 2012, charging that a 2011 agreement between SCE&G and the state to address pollution discharges at the plant was not binding. The settlement makes that agreement binding.[4]

Plant Data

  • Owner: South Carolina Electric & Gas Company
  • Parent Company: SCANA
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 772.[5]
  • Plant output: 685 MW (Megawatts)[6]
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 386 MW (1970), 386 MW (1971)
  • Location: 142 Wateree Station Rd., Eastover, SC 29044
  • GPS Coordinates: 33.8285, -80.6225
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


  1. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  2. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  3. "DHEC loosens arsenic limit for SCEandG: Discharge from utility's plant feeds into Wateree River" Sammy Fretwell, RenewableBiz.com, March 8, 2010
  4. Sue Sturgis, "A win for clean water in South Carolina coal ash storage lawsuit," Facing South, Aug. 21, 2012.
  5. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "GeneratorY09", Form EIA-860 Annual Electric Generator Report, U.S. Department of Energy, 2009. See cells 10840 and 10841. (This is a spreadsheet within a zipped data file).
  6. "SCE&G Fossil Fired plants" SCE&G Website, accessed April 2011.

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles

This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.