Columbia Generating Station Water Permit Challenged

State Court asked to overturn Columbia Generation Station water pollution permit

columbia generation stationNWEA has asked a state court to overturn the new Clean Water Act discharge permit issued by the State of Washington to the Columbia Generating Station. This plant, located at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, is the only one of five “WPPSS” reactors to have been completed.  Joining NWEA in the request are the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) and Columbia Riverkeeper.

The Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) issued the permit, which also allows the nuclear plant to operate a cooling water intake structure. The lawsuit challenges the Siting Council’s refusal to follow the expert advice of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The lawsuit also alleges that EFSEC’s permit allows water pollution at levels that violate state standards designed to protect public health, fish, and other aquatic species. Comments prepared by NWEA demonstrated the plant contributes heavy metals to an already over-contaminated Columbia River, where toxic pollution threatened public health and has caused reproductive failure in wildlife.

The Columbia Generating Station sucks 20 million gallons of water from the Columbia River every day to cool the nuclear reactor. In a series of letters, NMFS urged state and federal regulators to require modern water intake structures to protect threatened salmon from death or injury. Both EFSEC and EPA refused.

For copy of the court filing can be either view or downloaded here.