D.E. Karn and J.C. Weadock Generating Complex has 20 groundwater monitoring wells, 18 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between October 07, 2010 and October 24, 2013. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of arsenic, boron, sulfate, molybdenum, chromium and lead.Site description
Consumers Energy's D.E. Karn/J.C. Weadock Generating Complex is located in Essexville, Michigan adjacent to the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. The site has two power plants that include 821 MW of coal capacity. Weadock began operating in 1940, the two coal units at Karn began operating in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and two natural gas units at Karn began operating in the mid-1970s. According to Consumers Energy's website in March 2015, the plants burn over two million tons of coal, 57 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and 4.4 million gallons of fuel oil per year. The Karn/Weadock Generating Complex is Consumers Energy's largest power generation site.
The generating complex includes separate coal ash disposal areas for each plant. The Weadock disposal area was initially operated as a surface impoundment but was converted to a landfill in 1992. Bottom ash from Weadock is disposed of in a separate bottom ash pond. The Karn disposal area was constructed in the late 1950s and receives bottom ash, fly ash, wastewater, and other coal combustion byproducts. Both disposal areas converted from wet to dry fly ash handling systems in 2009.
The Karn/Weadock Generating Complex is listed among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's potential damage cases, indicating that it has potentially polluted groundwater or surface water at levels which threaten human health and the environment.