Muskingum River Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Muskingum River Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by American Electric Power near Beverly, Ohio.

The power station was shut down in 2015 (more at Proposed coal plant closure below).

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Ohio Power Company
  • Parent Company: American Electric Power
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,529 (megawatts) MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 220 MW (1953), 220 MW (1954), 238 MW (1957), 238 MW (1958), 615 MW (1968)
  • Location: County Lane Rd. 32, Beverly, OH 45715
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.5868, -81.6827
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Proposed coal plant closure

On June 9, 2011, AEP announced that, based on impending EPA regulations as proposed, AEP’s compliance plan would retire nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled power generation; upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW; refuel 1,070 MW of coal generation as 932 MW of natural gas capacity; and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. In addition, six other plants will reduce their power output.[1]

AEP’s current plan for compliance with the rules as proposed includes permanently retiring five of its coal-fueled power stations, including Muskingum River units 1-4 (840 MW), to be retired by Dec. 31, 2014.[2]

On February 25, 2013, AEP agreed to also stop burning coal at its Muskingum River Power Plant Unit 5 by 2015, updating an earlier 1999 lawsuit and 2007 settlement. AEP will also give $6 million to the eight states that, along with the EPA and environmental groups, filed the original 1999 lawsuit against it for trans-state pollution. (The states are Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.) The company will also provide $2.5 million to citizen groups in Indiana working on air pollution.[3]

Units 1-5 were shut down in May 2015.[4]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 7,022,056 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 122,984 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 17,951 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 356 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Muskingum River Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[5] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[6]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Muskingum River Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 28 $210,000,000
Heart attacks 45 $5,000,000
Asthma attacks 430 $22,000
Hospital admissions 21 $490,000
Chronic bronchitis 17 $7,400,000
Asthma ER visits 22 $8,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

"High Hazard" Surface Impoundments

Three of Muskingum River Plant's surface impoundments are on the EPA's official June 2009 list of Coal Combustion Residue (CCR) Surface Impoundments with High Hazard Potential Ratings. The rating applies to sites at which a dam failure would most likely cause loss of human life, but does not assess of the likelihood of such an event.[7]

Muskingum River ranked 45th on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[8] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[9]

Muskingum River Plant ranked number 45 on the list, with 791,757 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[8]

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Ohio, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[10] The report mentioned Ohio based Cardinal Plant, Gavin Plant, Industrial Excess Landfill Superfund Site and the Muskingum River Plant as all having groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[11]

Coal Waste Sites

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

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Articles and Resources


  1. "AEP Shutting 3 of 4 Units At Tanners Creek" Eagle Country Online, June 10, 2011.
  2. "AEP would shutter 5 coal plants to meet EPA rules" Coal Tattoo, June 9, 2011.
  3. Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, "American Electric Power agrees to close 3 coal plants in emissions settlement," Washington Post, Feb 25, 2013.
  4. "American Electric Power stops generation at 10 coal-fired plants," Platts, 1 June 2015
  5. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  6. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  7. Coal waste
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  9. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  10. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  11. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.

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