Environmental work satisfies new regulations and continues steps toward plant closure
Today, NIPSCO announces that the work to close its five coal ash ponds at the company’s Michigan City Generating Station will be moved until spring 2021. The adjustment to the start date still keeps NIPSCO’s plans ahead of the required 2023 deadline to complete the proposed ash pond work, while allowing the company to advance other community improvement projects – including electric and gas system modernization work – across northern Indiana.
NIPSCO held a virtual public meeting in April, in coordination with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), to present its plan to close its five ash ponds at the company’s Michigan City Generating Station, which was followed by a public comment period.
Coal ash is the leftover material that remains when coal is burned to generate electricity – similar to the leftover material when wood is burned in a fire.
Today, approximately 14,500 tons of coal ash are beneficially reused and 50,000 tons are safely transported each year as part of normal operations from the Michigan City Generating Station to a regulated landfill at the R.M. Schahfer Generating Station.
This plan seeks to remove the remaining coal ash material from the station’s five onsite ponds and replace it with clean fill, which meets the recently updated Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule. The CCR rule was designed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the safe disposal and management of coal ash at coal-fired electric generating stations across the nation, including a focus on groundwater quality.
In addition to meeting the CCR rule, the pond closures are another step forward taking place in advance of NIPSCO’s plans to retire 100 percent of its remaining coal-fired generation by 2028 and transition to lower-cost, reliable and cleaner energy sources including wind, solar and battery storage technology.
The data collected to date as part of the ash pond closure plans, indicates there is no risk to human health or the environment, no impacts to drinking water supplied by neighboring communities and nothing to indicate that the State’s waters are adversely affected.
NIPSCO will continue to work with IDEM to ensure that closure plans comply with all state and federal requirements, coordinate future work with local Michigan City and LaPorte County officials and work to keep the community informed. To learn more about NIPSCOs plan to close its ash ponds in Michigan City, visit NIPSCO.com/environmental and reference CCR Data.
About NIPSCO: Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), with headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana, has proudly served the energy needs of northern Indiana for more than 100 years. As Indiana’s largest natural gas distribution company and the second-largest electric distribution company, NIPSCO serves approximately 835,000 natural gas and 473,000 electric customers across 32 counties. NIPSCO is part of NiSource’s (NYSE: NI) seven regulated utility companies. NiSource is one of the largest fully regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 4 million natural gas and electric customers through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about NIPSCO and NiSource is available at NIPSCO.com and NiSource.com.