Basin Electric hosts public meeting in Wheatland on coal ash

Basin Electric staff held a public meeting Jan. 30 at the Wheatland (Wyoming) Public Library on an assessment of corrective measures at Laramie River Station.

The three coal-fired units at Laramie River Station located near Wheatland are owned by the five participants of the Missouri Basin Power Project: Basin Electric, Tri-State G&T Association, Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Lincoln Electric System, and Wyoming Municipal Power Agency.

The assessment is required as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Coal Combustion Residuals Rule (CCR), which took effect in October 2015. The rule establishes standards for the disposal of solid waste in landfills and surface impoundments.

“While monitoring wells have been on the Laramie River Station plant site for 40 years, additional wells were required by the CCR Rule,” said Kevin Solie, Basin Electric senior environmental compliance administrator. “One well, which is centrally located on the plant site, found a potential issue resulting from bottom ash pond 1. There is no health threat, nothing has moved off of Laramie River Station property, and there is no impact to surface water, wells, or residents.”

The public meeting was held to answer questions regarding two potential corrective measures for the ash pond, developed by AECOM, a third-party contracted engineering firm, and being considered by Basin Electric:

  1. Natural attenuation, and
  2. Groundwater extraction, and onsite reuse or disposal

“Because the issue at Laramie River Station is so small, one viable corrective measure is to do nothing but monitor the site, or natural attenuation. With this method, long-term monitoring would be required to determine when corrective action goals are achieved,” Solie said. “The second method would mean removing the groundwater using one or more pumping wells. The water would be treated, and then either discharged or reused, and the area would be monitored.”

Basin Electric will be accepting input until Feb. 29. Questions and comments can be sent to ksolie@bepc.com.