OP-ED: Nuclear Plant Is Polluting Our Drinking Water
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Clean safe water is not a luxury. It’s essential for survival, including personal hygiene, food preparation and cooking. Allowing the intentional destruction of a vital water resource supplying almost 2 million people, for the profit of a multi-billion dollar corporation, is a moral, ethical disgrace.
Why should one business, Limerick Nuclear Plant, be permitted to run the Schuylkill River dry and poison it to such a degree that it can become unusable for other businesses and residents?
It is infuriating and unacceptable that our politicians, agency officials, other leaders, and water companies would allow such injustice to continue. Deafening silence continues, while almost two million people from Pottstown to Philadelphia, face a water and public health crisis.
NRC and DEP might as well be working for Exelon.
• Instead of stopping Limerick’s unprecedented threats and harms to the Schuylkill River, NRC plans to relicense Limerick.
• DEP plans to issue an NPDES water pollution permit with dangerous exemptions and loopholes for Limerick’s radiation and cooling tower toxic discharges, and overheating the river.
PA DEP is allowing Limerick to violate federal protective water law and standards. DEP has the power to deny Limerick an NPDES pollution permit renewal. Instead, DEP plans to approve a permit with shocking exemptions.
Instead of exemptions from compliance, Exelon, Limerick’s owner, should be required to filter Limerick’s dangerous discharges to meet Safe Drinking Water standards.
Exelon is profiting and should be accountable to minimize damage.
Clean water is the law of the land since 1972. Why would PA DEP ignore protective federal clean water laws? Because it saves Exelon the cost of filtration.
Governor Corbett appointed Michael Krancer, a former Exelon attorney, to head DEP. Krancer stayed long enough to assure Limerick’s exemption from federal water laws.
DEP’s unethical negligence has health and financial consequences.
• Suffering and health care costs will increase. DEP plans to allow unlimited amounts of Limerick’s broad range of radionuclides and toxic cooling tower chemicals to be discharged into the river every day with up to 14.2 million gallons of wastewater.
• It’s cost prohibitive for water companies to monitor or filter Schuylkill River water intake for all Limerick’s cancer causing radionuclides and other toxics.
• Increasing costs to water companies for Limerick’s massive Total Dissolved Solids discharges will ultimately be passed on to their customers. Example: Norristown shut down water distribution for four days recently, resulting in costly plant upgrades. Limerick uses two chemicals that can cause brown water (NPDES Permit).
• Rather than requiring Exelon to slow operations when Limerick discharges overheat the river, DEP plans to eliminate river temperature restrictions that protect aquatic life, public health, and safety.
How can NRC relicense Limerick? There isn’t enough water in the Schuylkill River to sustain daily operations, much less for meltdowns.
• Limerick withdraws over two and a half times more water than the combined withdrawal for Pottstown and Norristown water customers, returning just one quarter to the river. The rest goes into the air as steam from the cooling towers.
• Limerick’s cooling towers depleted the river since the late 1980s. By 1999, DEP reported that it reached record low flows. It’s getting worse. Where you once needed a boat to cross, you can now walk across. Tributaries are even drying up.
If your water is coming from the Schuylkill River through PA American Water, Aqua PA, or your municipality, know your risks.
Visit www.acereport.org. Section #6 “Schuylkill River – Limerick’s Operations Threaten A Drinking Water Disaster” and Video Blogs Updates.
Safe drinking water must be the legacy we leave our children.
To save the Schuylkill River and restore an ample, safe water supply for almost two million people and other businesses, Limerick must close. Otherwise, unprecedented threats and harms will increase, expediting a drinking water disaster.
Final permits are pending. Contact elected and agency officials today. For more information: www.acereport.org. To join the fight: firstname.lastname@example.org or (610) 326-2387.
DR. LEWIS CUTHBERT
The Mercury (http://www.pottsmerc.com)