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Plant Scherer Scoping Report_7.18.12 (01)

Plant Scherer Scoping Report_7.18.12 (01)

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Published by chris_horne_8
The Georgia Department of Public Health prepared a "scoping report" on the potential for contamination from Plant Scherer, calling for more testing of the groundwater.
The Georgia Department of Public Health prepared a "scoping report" on the potential for contamination from Plant Scherer, calling for more testing of the groundwater.

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Published by: chris_horne_8 on Jul 23, 2012
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Plant Scherer Scoping Report Juliette, Monroe County, Georgia
Scoping Report
Plant Robert W. Scherer(Plant Scherer)Juliette, Monroe County, Georgia
Prepared byGeorgia Department of Public HealthJune 2012
For more information, please contact:Franklin Sanchez, Health AssessorChemical Hazards Program2 Peachtree Street, 13
FloorAtlanta, Georgia 30303(404) 657-6534www.health.state.ga.us/programs/hazards
Plant Scherer Scoping Report Juliette, Monroe County, Georgia
Statement of Issues
In March and April 2012, the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) received reports of healthconcerns by several residents regarding Plant Scherer, a coal-fired power plant operated and maintainedby Georgia Power Company (Georgia Power) in Juliette, Georgia. Because Plant Scherer has an unlinedcoal-ash disposal pond, residents have expressed concerns about uranium contamination found ingroundwater and whether other chemicals and health issues may be related to facility operations. GDPHstaff documented reports from residents with concerns about potential groundwater contamination, andmedia coverage provided additional facility information and environmental and health concerns. In April2012, CNN reported that a number of residents living near the plant had numerous health problems,including nose bleeds, asthma, muscle twitches, dementia, and cancer [1-4]The purpose of this Scoping Report is to address residents’ health concerns. Under a cooperativeagreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the GDPH conductedthis initial investigation to provide information about public health issues related to exposure to chemicalsin the environment, and to identify populations for which further health-related actions may be needed. Itis not intended to address liability or other non-health issues.GDPH works with local, state, and federal government agencies, elected officials, the businesscommunity, residents, and others to address environmental and public health issues. A Scoping Report isthe first step in reporting whether regulated chemicals may pose a risk to public health. All applicable andvalid environmental data are evaluated to determine what actions are needed to protect public healthand/or inform communities. The results of the scoping investigation may result in no additional publichealth actions, or a public health assessment, health consultation, health advisory, exposure investigation,or a health study.
For Plant Scherer, the
GDPH concludes
additional groundwater data evaluation is needed todetermine: 1) if contaminants are present in off-site groundwater, and 2) the nature and extent of thosecontaminants. The limited data available do not indicate that humans are being or have been exposed tolevels of contamination that would be expected to cause adverse health effects; however, GDPH willconduct a health consultation for groundwater. More information about the health consultations can befound in Appendix A.
Plant Scherer Scoping Report Juliette, Monroe County, Georgia
Facility Description and Background
Plant Robert W. Scherer (Plant Scherer) is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the United StatesThe plant is located on Highway 87 in Juliette, Georgia approximately three miles south of Juliette’s towncenter. Juliette is a rural community in central Georgia located in eastern-central Monroe Countyapproximately 12 miles northeast of Forsyth; the nearest city. Plant Scherer encompasses 12,000 acres(approximately 19 square miles) of land that includes almost half of Lake Juliette in Monroe County.Plant Scherer began operating in March 1982 after the completion of its first 880-megawatt unit (UnitOne). Units Two, Three and Four followed in February 1984, January 1987 and March 1989,respectively. Georgia Power operates the entire facility under contract with the joint owners: OglethorpePower Company, Florida Power and Light Company, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, Gulf Power Company, Jacksonville Electric Authority, and the City of Dalton, Georgia [5].The main operating area of the plant site covers about 3,500 acres. It includes the powerhouse and theturbine area for all four units; a 750-acre ash disposal pond; a 300-acre ash settling pond; a 40-acreretention pond; a 90-acre coal storage yard; and a 500-kilovolt substation that feeds electricity generatedat the plant into Georgia’s Integrated Transmission System. The remaining 8,500 acres of property, whichincludes part of 3,600-acre Lake Juliette, also is essential to Plant Scherer’s purpose of producingelectricity [5].
Site Visit
On June 28, 2012, staff from GDPH and the North Central Health District conducted a site visit of PlantScherer. Georgia Power employees presented on the history and operations at Plant Scherer with anemphasis on pollution control measures. Following the overview, public health staff were taken to theboiler and turbine/generator facility, then to the roof for a better view related operational infrastructure.This included the emission stacks, cooling towers, built-in scrubber houses used to remove sulfur dioxide,built-in selective catalytic reduction units used to remove nitrogen oxides, and baghouse units used toremove mercury from coal burning emissions. Georgia Power employees escorted staff by vehicle on thedike around the coal ash disposal pond. Throughout the facility property, construction material wasstored and construction activity was taking place as part of the on-going pollution control upgrades thatbegan in 2005 and is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

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