Edgewater Generating Station
Edgewater, owned by Alliant Energy, is a coal fired, electrical plant in Sheboygan, WI on Lake Michigan.
The Edgewater coal plant burns primarily coal, along with some oil and recycled tires. It burns 2,472,700.89 tons of coal, 954,735 gallons of oil, and 5,493.26 tons of tires.
(according to the 2009 DNR Air Emissions Inventory)
Carbon Dioxide—the main cause of global climate change:
Edgewater: 9,173,302,000 pounds or 4,586,651 tons
Heavy metals: they are linked to reduced central nervous functions, damage to vital organs, and even degenerative processes
Edgewater: 8,991.23 pounds, including barium, lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.
Soot, which is made up of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, forms small particles in the lungs and bloodstream, which have been linked to blood clots and even strokes. Smog, which is known to burn our lungs, or ‘sun-burn’ them, is formed with the emissions of nitrogen oxide and ROG or ‘Reactive Organic gases’.
Particulate Matter: 1,114 tons Sulfur Dioxide: 13,448.40 tons
Nitrogen Oxide: 2,962.19 tons ROG: 102.602 tons
Based on the amount of ozone in the air, the American Lung Association gave Sheboygan County’s air quality an “F”. The Edgewater Generating Station is a large contributor to this.
The coal for the Edgewater coal plant is stored openly along the shore of Lake Michigan. During a rainstorm, coal dust leaks onto the beach and into the lake. In addition to the pre-combustion coal dust run-off, Edgewater also has a coal ash dump site in Sheboygan. This has raised concerns because there is no lining at the dump site. This allows for leaks to occur more easily, especially near the precious Lake Michigan. Discoloration along the shore can be seen while at the Dog Park located on the shore near the plant.
The plant is located on Lake Michigan and uses the water for cooling. The cooling towers spit warm water back into the Lake. This increases the temperature of the Lake in that area, causing it to be the hotspot for swimming; however, this can cause drastic effects on the ecosystems.
Last, but not least, the coal ash ponds in the Town of Wilson have been thought to be linked to rising rates of cancer and other concerns in the area. They have requested that Alliant Energy monitor the wells in the area to ensure they are not leaking. As a result, Alliant Energy sued the town.
The Good News for Sheboygan:
It doesn't have to be this way! There are plenty of opportunities in the area to boost Sheboygan's economy with clean energy technology that will produce jobs and boost the local economy without continuing to poison Sheboygan's water.
E-mail Elizabeth Ward or call (608) 256-0565 to get involved with the Sheboygan campaign or other coal fights. Sign up here to get involved with other Sierra Club activities.