Tonawanda Coal Generating Station

I happen to live only a few blocks away from one of the nations worst polluting coal power plants. I have always been a fan of Nuclear energy, but after taking the time to read through the list of toxins generated at said plant, I am now even more pro Nuclear. I was bored and looking up some general information about the plant, because I didn't know much about it. Well, turns out that of 30 power plants in this list, this plant next door was the worst.

I went down the list of chemicals that are produced as byproducts (of burning coal) at this site:

Barium Compounds = 49,755 lbs/year

Benzo[a]pyrene = 0.04 lbs/year

Chromium Compounds = 16,005 lbs/year

Dioxin-like Compounds = 0.24 lbs/year

Hydrochloric Acid = 1,900,000 lbs/year

Hydrogen Fluoride = 160,000 lbs/year

Lead Compounds = 4,749 lbs/year

Manganese Compounds = 20,005 lbs/year

Mercury Compounds = 260 lbs/year

Nickel Compounds = 11,505 lbs/year

Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds = 1.4 lbs/year

Sulfuric Acid = 400,000 lbs/year

Vanadium Compounds = 22,505 lbs/year

Zinc Compounds = 12,505 lbs/year

That is a lot of byproducts for a small coal burning plant! And I do mean small. Well okay, maybe it is medium sized by US standards. the Coal plants that were in the Toronto area had upwards of 16 generators, I think one had 18 or 24 even... This plant has only 6. 3 of which are offline. I would honestly rather be living beside a Nuclear power plant in this case. Sure it has radio active byproducts (the used uranium) which is disposed of and handled carefully. But there is no local contamination of dangerous carcinogenic compounds. Half of the chemicals listed above were released in large quantities into the air via the smoke stack, and/or into the water via dumping it into the Niagara River. All of the chemicals listed above are apparently disposed of on-site at the power plants own mini landfill.  Many of the compounds are carcinogenic in some form.

I also find it interesting that only a few of the chemicals are activly being treated at the plant. Many of the more dangerous compounds have no protection or emission safety system (i.e. smoke stack scrubbers) to protect these substances from being released.

Granted I am not surprised. This power plant is sitting right next to Ashland Oil's huge landfill site for radioactive and carcinogenic oil based products (part of the waste which was mostly created during the Manhattan project). But in this day and age, to operate such a plant in a developed nation, is somewhat disgraceful. I will write about other local brownfields and active polluters in the coming weeks.