AmerenUE Venice Station Ash Pond Closure

AmerenUE (Ameren) has proposed a closure plan for its former ash ponds located at the Venice Generating Station. The Venice Station is located on the boundary between Madison and St. Clair Counties along the bank of the Mississippi River. Due to levels of some chemicals in groundwater that exceed Illinois’ groundwater quality standards, Ameren plans to implement a groundwater management zone (GMZ) at the Venice Station.

The Venice Station was operated as a coal fired power plant from approximately 1942 to the mid-1970s. In the 1950’s the ash ponds were added to manage coal waste, storm water and other waste streams generated at the station. In the mid-1970s the station was converted to burn natural gas or oil. The ponds continued to be used for managing storm water and other waste streams at the station, but have received no ash since 1977. In 2005, a new water treatment facility was completed, and the ponds have received no water except direct precipitation since that time.

The former ash ponds are constructed such that the Mississippi River levee system has been integrated with the western berm of the ponds and a railroad levee is integrated with the eastern most berm. To close the ponds, Ameren has proposed the use a synthetic cover over the top of the ash. The synthetic cover will permanently prevent precipitation from sinking into the ash and flowing through it into the groundwater, without damaging the critical levee systems with which the ponds are in contact. Ameren will be monitoring the concentration of chemicals in the groundwater at the Venice station to insure that the cover system is working as designed.

Several documents were provided by Ameren to the Illinois EPA for its review of the proposed closure of the former ash ponds at the Ameren, Venice Station. The following documents were provided and contained here-in:

  1. “Ash Pond Closures at AmerenUE’s Venice Plant”, dated March 25, 2010, describes the corrective action and monitoring program Ameren will use as part of its proposed Groundwater Management Zone at the Venice Station.
  2. “Ash Pond Plot” is a map that displays the ash pond area, county and municipal boundaries as well as other geographic features and infrastructure.
  3. There are a series of six technical memoranda that provide details of specific aspects of the ash pond closure plan. The closure plan refers the reader to these technical memoranda at appropriate points in the document.
    1. Technical Memorandum 1
    2. Technical Memorandum 2
    3. Technical Memorandum 3
    4. Technical Memorandum 4
    5. Technical Memorandum 5
    6. Technical Memorandum 6
  4. “Pending Proposal for a Groundwater Management Zone AmerenUE Venice Station”, dated August 3, 2010. In response to comments from Illinois EPA, Ameren amended its initial closure plan with submission of this letter.

The Illinois EPA will accept comments on Ameren’s closure plan until October 10, 2010. For additional information, contact Lynn Dunaway at 217-785-4787. Comments may be submitted:

By Mail:
Attention: Lynn Dunaway
Division of Public Water Supplies
Mail Code 13
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
1021 North Grand Ave. East
Springfield, Il. 62794

By Fax:
Attention Lynn Dunaway
(217)-782-0075

By e-mail:
lynn.dunaway@illinois.gov