Invista Seaford Power Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Seaford Power Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Invista (which was spun off from DuPont in 2003) in Seaford, Delaware. The plant provides power to Invista's Seaford synthetic textiles manufacturing facility. Invista is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.[1]

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In 1939, materials science giant DuPont acquired 609 acres (2.46 km2) near Seaford for a nylon production plant. The $8.5 million investment (and consequently the 1,400 construction-related jobs it brought) was welcomed by locals with an impromptu parade. The Seaford plant went into production on December 12, 1939 and the first yarn produced by the plant can be viewed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Bulked Continuous Filament nylon, a standard in the carpet industry, was developed at the Seaford plant in 1958. The Seaford plant employed over 4,600 employees at its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By 2004, this number had dropped to about 650. Dupont later spun off the nylon fibers business (along with Lycra and other products such as Teflon) into a wholly owned subsidiary called Invista. Invista was later sold to Koch Industries, Inc. for $4.2 billion on April 30, 2004[2]

Seaford Environmental Violations

The Seaford plant burns coal and in 2001 reported discharging into the air 130 pounds of the neurotoxin mercury. Total “Toxic Release Inventory” on-site releases for that year were 469,000 pounds. For 2005, the total was 602,000 pounds. By 2007, the amounts reported had increased to 764,000 pounds. Careless disposal of coal ash on the site has contaminated groundwater with arsenic, carbon tetrachloride, and other toxic chemicals.[3]

A December 2008 EPA Region 3 progress report on the Invista Seaford Plant found arsenic in the underlying groundwater, and stated the "source of the arsenic is most likely coal ash generated by the site’s power plant." Invista has said it is converting its coal-fired boilers to natural gas, however activists such as Citizens for Clean Power and the Sierra Club argue any additional coal ash generated should only be disposed of in a lined landfill.[4]

In April 2009 it was determined that INVISTA would pay a civil penalty of $850,000 to EPA and a civil penalty of $500,000 to Delaware for environmental violations found through audit at various INVISTA facilities, including the INVISTA-Seaford Plant. A Consent Decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware specifying corrective actions expected to result in net reductions in emissions from three boilers at the Seaford plant of 1,029 tons per year of nitrogen oxides; 4,211 tons per year of sulfur oxides; and 269 tons per year of particulate matter.[5]

INVISTA must control NOx, SO2, and PM by ceasing to use coal at the Seaford boilers through installation of a natural gas-fired boiler and switching the existing boilers to burn only low-sulfur fuel oil for a maximum of four months. Under this option emissions are limited to 118 tons of NOx and 353 tons of SO2 on a 12-month rolling average basis. INVISTA is also required to limit sulfur content in all vaporizer fuel to 1%.[6]

Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: Invista/ Koch Industries, Inc. (Koch)
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 30 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 10 MW (1939), 10 MW (1939), 10 MW (1939)
  • Location: 400 Woodland Rd., Seaford, DE 19973
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.631171, -75.62565
  • Electricity Production: 132,476 MWh (2005)
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:100 [7]

Emissions Data

  • CO2 Emissions: 244,446 tons (2006)
  • CO Emissions: 42.8 tons (2002)
  • NH4 Emissions: 5.48 tons (2002)
  • SO2 Emissions: 3,262 tons(2002)
  • NOx Emissions: 1,563 tons (2002)
  • PM10 Emissions: 207 tons (2002)
  • PM2.5 Emissions: 189 tons (2002)
  • VOC Emissions: 14.5 tons (2002)
Constituent 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Mercury Stack - lbs 130 117 37 42 30 29 43 66 13 - - - - -
Mercury Landfill - lbs 0 102 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - -
Mercury Surface Impoundment - lbs 113 0 32 36 26 25 0 0 0 - - - - -
Lead Landfill - lbs 1,629 2,018 0 0 0 0 0 0 179 - - - - -
Lead Surface Impoundment- lbs 0 0 2,800 1,900 3,400 1,400 1,800 1,100 170 - - - - -
Lead Stack - lbs 57 53 46 55 53 47 47 387 9 - - - - -
Lead Fugitive - lbs - - - 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.2 0 - - - - -


Environmental Damages

There is an unlined coal ash landfill and two unlined coal ash surface impoundments operated by this facility. Groundwater contamination has occurred and has resulted in the establishment of a Groundwater Management Zone GMZ) by deed restriction to prevent human consumption of the contaminated groundwater. The Record of Decision (ROD) signed by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) on May 25, 2006, specified well and parameters for annual groundwater monitoring to evaluate the selected remedy (i.e., natural attenuation) for the groundwater contamination at the facility.

The Sampling, Analysis, Monitoring and Reporting (SAMR) Project Report for 2006 found that arsenic was found in each groundwater monitoring well sampled. The highest concentration of arsenic was found in well 12MW-14s at 2,170 ug/L dissolved. Well 12MW-14s is located between the ash landfill and the south ash pond. Well 12MW-15s, which is upgradient and between 12MW-14s and the ash settling pond had an arsenic concentration of 646 ug/L dissolved. Well 7MW-18s on the bank of the drainage ditch, which is down gradient of 12MW-14s, had an arsenic concentration of 49 ug/L. Well 7MW-20s on the east berm of the North Ash Settling pond had an arsenic concentration of 211 ug/L dissolved. Well 7MW-19s on the east berm of the South Ash Settling Pond had an arsenic concentration of 5.1 ug/L dissolved. Well 12MW-16s near the west berm of the South Ash Settling Pond had an arsenic concentration of 458 ug/L dissolved. The South Ash Settling Pond was dry at the time of this sampling and being excavated by INVISTA for placement in the landfill.

Outfall 007 from the ash selling pond measured 16.5 ug/L dissolved and 56.3 ug/L total arsenic. Sample location SG-2 further down stream of Outfall 007 found 1.5 J ug/L dissolved and 4.4 ug/L total arsenic.

Sample location SG-4 near the "headwaters" of Lewis Creek just south of the Ash landfill had 14.1 ug/L dissolved and 14.9 ug/L total arsenic. Monitoring well 17MW-17s located close to the bank of Lewis Creek and the SG-4 sample location had dissolved groundwater arsenic of 22.9 ug/L. [8]

From September 2002 until January 2008, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) collected ambient water quality measurements of the Nanticoke River which recieves the discharge from the Invista coal ash surface impoundments and ash landfill leachate. These measurements detect arsenic in the recieving water above the ambient water quality criteria of 10 ug/L arsenic in one sample set.

Station ID # Station Latitude Station Longitude Constituent Average Min Max Date of Max
Bouy 51 (mouth of Broad Creek) 304091 38.570481 -75.676335 Arsenic ug/L 3.0 2.1 4.4 Jan 17, 2006
Bouy 65 (mouth of Lewis Creek) 304151 38.618081 -75.631239 Arsenic ug/L 3.0 ND (<2) 11.0 Sep. 11, 2006


Articles and Resources


  1. Koch Industries, "Polymers and Fibers", Koch Industries website, accessed April 2011.
  2. "Seaford, Delaware", Wikipedia, accessed May 2010.
  3. Alan Muller "EPA settles with Invista over DuPont environmental violations", Green Delaware, April 14, 2009.
  4. "'Spoiling' Seaford", Sussex Green (Blog), March 4, 2009
  5. "Environmental Violations at INVISTA’s Seaford Plant Resolved Through Consent Decree Filed in District Court: Corrective Actions Will Reduce Air Pollution at Facility" State of Delaware Website, April 13, 2009.
  6. "INVISTA Audit Settlement Information Sheet", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accessed May 2010.
  7. Chris Graham, "Report | Invista lays off another 300-plus", Augusta Free Press, December 10, 2008.

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