Plant Bowen has 108 groundwater monitoring wells, 31 of which have been polluted above federal advisory levels based on samples collected between February 29, 2016 and December 16, 2019. Groundwater at this site contains unsafe levels of boron, sulfate, cobalt, antimony, molybdenum, radium, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium and thallium.Site description
Plant Bowen is a 2,000-acre coal-fired power plant in Cartersville, Georgia bordered by the Etowah River in Bartow County. Owned and operated by Georgia Power Company, Bowen has four coal-fired units that produce 3,376-MW of electricity. The plant has four disposal areas: one unlined ash pond and three unlined landfill areas. Georgia Power has proposed retiring Units 1 and 2 by 2028, and Units 3 and 4 by 2035. The 254-acre ash pond is located approximately 100 feet away from the river and contains 21.4 million cubic yards of coal ash.
In 2002, a sinkhole beneath the ash pond funneled two million pounds of coal ash into a tributary of the Etowah River. Georgia Power has announced plans to stop disposing of ash in the ash pond, and “close” the pond by removing the water and leaving the coal ash in place. As described in a July 2021 Closure Plan released by Georgia Power Company, the closure will be conducted in 10 phases, wherein dewatered CCR will be excavated from the ash pond and placed into previously prepared lined disposal cells, and a final capping (installation of final cover system) will follow the incremental filling of disposal cells in the consolidated lined area. Per these plans, to minimize future maintenance needs for AP-1, the CCR within AP-1 will be consolidated from a 254-acre area into an approximately 144-acre, fully contained structure.