Walter C. Beckjord Station has 26 groundwater monitoring wells, 6 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between June 09, 2011 and September 01, 2014. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of manganese, sulfate and selenium.Site description
Duke Energy's Walter C. Beckjord Station is located on the Ohio River 18 miles upstream from Cincinnati, Ohio. The plant's original coal-fired unit operated from 1952 to 2012, and five additional coal-fired units were installed at the site by 1969 and continue to operate. Duke Energy plans to retire the remaining five coal-fired units in 2015. The site is also home to four 61-megawatt oil-fired combustion turbines that began operating in 1972.
Three active ash ponds currently receive fly and bottom ash from Beckjord's coal-fired units, and there is at least one inactive ash pond on-site. The inactive and active ash ponds are located in close proximity to 20 public drinking water supply wells operated by Ohio's Pierce, Union, and Batavia townships, some of which had been in operation since the 1950s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, in response to elevated sulfate concentrations in one drinking water supply well, several groundwater studies were conducted to determine the site's impact on groundwater. A sulfate plume exists under the inactive ash pond (Ash Pond A) and is currently "controlled" by pumping groundwater from an "interceptor" well.
In 2008, one of an ash pond's 100 foot-long side-walls collapsed, releasing "unknown amounts" of fly ash into a creek that flows into the Ohio River. In August 2014, around five thousand gallons of fuel oil spilled during a routine delivery at the site resulting in the closure of 15 miles of the Ohio River.
The Beckjord Station is among the U.S. EPA's list of potential damage cases, indicating that it has potentially polluted groundwater or surface water at levels which threaten human health and the environment.