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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is extending the public comment period by 30 days on the draft wastewater discharge (NPDES) permit for FirstEnergy’s Bay Shore power plant.

The comment period deadline is now May 29 instead of April 29.

Dina Pierce, northwest district media coordinator for the Ohio EPA, said the extension was made at the request of Oregon City Council, as well as from some members of the public.

Oregon Council passed a resolution introduced by Council member Sandy Bihn requesting the extension last month.

The draft wastewater discharge permit consists primarily of the plant’s non-contact cooling water. The permit sets limits on contaminants in the plant’s discharge to Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay. The draft permit action is a proposed renewal of the plant’s existing wastewater discharge permit, which is valid for five years and must be renewed to remain valid.

The draft permit also imposes requirements on the plant’s cooling water intake system that are expected to reduce fish mortality that results from the impingement and entrainment (I&E) of fish in the intake structure.

The Bay Shore power plant will be required to install technology to minimize fish kills at the plant’s intake system.

The plant will install devices called “reverse louvers.”

FirstEnergy will be required to study the effectiveness of the devices, which will be permanently installed if they are successful in reducing fish kills.

If they are ineffective, Ohio EPA will require the company to pursue another solution to the fish impingement and entrainment problem.

The I&E issue is particularly important at this location near where the Maumee River drains into the Maumee Bay because it is a very productive fish spawning area.

The draft permit would require FirstEnergy to evaluate options for reducing I&E at the facility and choose an option that will reduce impingement by 80 percent and entrainment by 60 percent. The company will be required to write a report on its evaluation of available technology and submit it to the Ohio EPA for review by July 1, 2011. Construction of the remedy must be completed by October 1, 2014.

Ohio EPA will accept written comments on the draft permit through May 29. Anyone may submit written comments or request to be placed on a mailing list for information by writing to Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH  43216-1049. The application and other related materials are available for review at Ohio EPA’s Northwest District Office in Bowling Green by calling (419) 352-8461.

The draft permit and a fact sheet are available online at http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/permits/bayshore.aspx.

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