Waukegan Generating Station has 15 groundwater monitoring wells, 15 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between October 25, 2010 and November 19, 2019. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of boron, arsenic, manganese, sulfate, molybdenum, lithium, chromium, antimony, cobalt, selenium, thallium and cadmium.Site description
Waukegan Generating Station was an 803-MW capacity power plant with three coal-fired units, located on the shore of Lake Michigan northeast of Waukegan in Lake County and operated by Midwest Generation. The facility was first built in 1952. One unit was first retired in 2007, and the rest of the facility was retired by its owner (NRG) in 2022. The site is bordered by undeveloped land, industrial land, Lake Michigan, and residential properties. The power plant uses two lined ash ponds regulated by the CCR rule that cover approximately 25 acres. Ash appears to have been used in the construction of the pond dikes, and there is an abandoned ash disposal area immediately west of the ash ponds that still contains an unknown amount of coal ash. Routine groundwater monitoring began on-site in 2011. As of 2009, eight potable or industrial wells were located within 2,500 feet north and west of the ash ponds.
In October 2012, Midwest Generation entered into a Compliance Commitment Agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) concerning violations of groundwater standards at Waukegan Generating Station. Among other requirements imposed by this agreement, the facility's ash ponds are not to be used as permanent disposal sites and Midwest Generation had to obtain an Environmental Land Use Control designation at the site. The agreement did not include establishing a Groundwater Management Zone.