For the past two years, we have been asking state and federal regulators to do their jobs and stop Pilgrim’s damaging pollution. Simply put, they won’t do their jobs. So the only option now seems to be to tell Entergy not to use the Bay at all.
Pilgrim’s Clean Water Act permit (called an NPDES permit) expired in 1996. It lets Entergy use an outdated “once-through cooling water system,” or sometimes called a cooling water intake system (CWIS). When Entergy sued the state to try to stop enforcement of the state clean water laws against Pilgrim, Entergy lost and the court said,
It is well established that “[t]he environmental impact of these systems is staggering, . . . destabilizing wildlife populations in the surrounding ecosystem. In areas with a designated use as aquatic habitat (such as Cape Cod Bay where Pilgrim’s CWIS operates), therefore, CWIS hinder the attainment of water quality standards.” -Entergy v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, 459 Mass. 319, 332 (2011) (quoting Riverkeeper, Inc. v. United States Envtl. Protection Agency, 358 F.3d 174, 181 (2d Cir. 2004)).
Pilgrim’s thermal pollution means that the facility routinely dumps heated waste water into Cape Cod Bay up to 32⁰F hotter than ambient temperature. During periodic thermal backwashes (to clean pipes and screens, or “macroinvertebrate control”), Pilgrim is allowed to discharge water up to 120⁰F hotter than the Bay. For example, according to Pilgrim’s June 2014 Discharge Monitoring Report, the maximum temperature of the sea water discharged during thermal backwashing operations was 108⁰F. Pilgrim is also leaking sodium nitrite (a corrosion inhibitor and additive to industrial greases) and tolytriazole (a corrosion inhibitor) into the surface waters of Cape Cod Bay.
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state promised to renew Pilgrim’s permit by the end of 2013, but that promise was broken. Then the agencies said the new permit would be ready by Sept. 2014—and now that promise will be broken again. While Entergy continues to stall and delay the permit process, and regulators cave to industry pressure, our Bay is continuing to be destroyed.
Take action on this issue!
Email or call U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection today. Tell them that they have failed to do their job by allowing Pilgrim to operate with a Clean Water Act Permit that has been expired for 18 years and with ongoing leaks of harmful pollutants into our groundwater and surface water. Enough is enough – it’s time EPA renewed Pilgrim’s expired Clean Water Act permit. Otherwise, they need to revoke the permit altogether, see that Pilgrim is closed, and stop the destruction of Cape Cod Bay once and for all.
Send an email or call the following EPA/DEP contacts: