Rocky Mountain Power Reports Contaminant Findings Under Three Power Plants

Rocky Mountain Power reports that it will address the groundwater contaminant issues after the first of the year.

ROCK SPRINGS — Rocky Mountain Power is reporting that contaminants have been discovered under three Wyoming power plants, including two in southwest Wyoming.

According to company spokesman Dave Eskelsen, the company discovered the contaminants during its assessment monitoring process of the plants earlier this year.

Assessment monitoring is part of new environmental quality requirements set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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The company reports that groundwater beneath the Jim Bridger plant northeast of Rock Springs, the Naughton plant near Kemmerer and the Dave Johnston plant in Glenrock have all tested positive for different types of contaminants.

At the Jim Bridger plant, lead and selenium have been found; the Naughton plant tested positive for radium; and the Dave Johnston plant tested positive for carsenic and cadmium.

Eskelsen says that a series of remediation stages will take place to find out the extent and cause of the contaminations. Meanwhile, he said that none of the employees at the site locations are in danger.

“We’ll find out the extent of the problem and we should be done around May,” Eskelsen said. “There will be extensive public involvement in the process and we will be conducting meetings at each of the facilities.”

“Our primary concern is for the health and safety of everyone involved,” he added.

The toxins were detected beneath the unlined coal-ash disposal ponds at each of the sites, though it isn’t immediately clear what caused the problem, Eskelsen stated.  Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal in the plants.

Rocky Mountain Power reported the toxins found to state regulators earlier this month.

Eskelsen said the company expects to have the issues completely resolved by the end of next year following further investigation and remediation of the contaminations.