NIPSCO plans to begin work, following approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, to close its five coal ash ponds at the company’s Michigan City Generating Station. The approval process includes the opportunity for public comment and participation details are below.
Coal ash is the leftover material that remains when coal is burned to generate electricity – similar to the leftover material when wood is burned in a fire. Historically, for the ash material that was not repurposed or recycled for other uses (such as common building materials and content used in road construction) it was enclosed or stored in onsite ponds. This is a consistent practice across the industry.
NIPSCO plans to remove the coal ash material from the station’s onsite ponds and replace it with clean fill, which meets the recently updated Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule. The CCR rule was designed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the safe disposal and management of coal ash at coal-fired electric generating stations across the nation, including a focus on groundwater quality.
In addition to meeting the CCR rule, the pond closures are another step forward taking place in advance of NIPSCO’s plans to retire 100 percent of its remaining coal-fired generation by 2028 and transition to lower-cost, reliable and cleaner energy sources including wind, solar and battery storage technology.
The pond closures will not directly impact operations of the Michigan City Generating Station and newly produced coal ash material will be sent offsite to its newly constructed Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) approved landfill at its R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield, Ind. In addition, plans to close the coal ash ponds at the company’s decommissioned Bailly Generating Station, as well as the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station will begin to move forward in the near future.
The public has an opportunity to learn more about NIPSCO’s pond closure plans via a virtual public meeting that will be held on Wednesday, April 22 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (CST).
Virtual Location Link: https://tinyurl.com/NIPSCOmeeting
Dial in Only #:
1-866-692-3580, ID 710 234 333
Registration is required to participate in the Q&A portion, questions can be emailed in advance to NIPSCO_Environmental@nisource.com.
NIPSCO representatives will be available to answer questions on the closure plan, following an overview presentation of the plan.
For those unable to join the meeting, comments can be submitted directly to IDEM, by May 22, 2020, to Ahopkins@idem.in.gov
. –or- mail submittals can be sent to:
Alyssa Hopkins, Permit Manager
Indiana Department of Environmental Management
Solid Waste Permits
100 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2251
NIPSCO will continue to work with IDEM to ensure that closure plans comply with all state and federal requirements, and coordinate with local Michigan City and LaPorte County officials to minimize disruption from the expected increase in truck traffic and work activity throughout the duration of the project. IDEM will be present at the virtual public meeting and a copy of the presentation will available to the public at 4 p.m. on April 20 and can be accessed at NIPSCO.com/environment