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Aurora Energy pays $33,000 for violation of Clean Water Act

Release Date: 12/8/2005
Contact Information: Eva Chun
(206) 553-1970

December 08, 2005

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with Aurora Energy of Fairbanks, Alaska for violations of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) at its Aurora Energy Chena Power Plant (Facility), a commercial electric generating facility. During inspections last spring, EPA noted the presence of coal dust on the south banks of the Chena River, Fairbanks, Alaska. Coal dust in water can reduce oxygen levels, which can have a major affect on the surrounding fish and wildlife in the river.

To address discharges of coal dust such as those seen during the inspections, Aurora Energy's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit requires Aurora Energy to include measures in the Best Management Practices (BMP) Plan that will be undertaken to prevent or minimize coal and/or coal dust from falling from the coal conveyor line into the Chena River.

Aurora Energy's draft BMP Plan, submitted to EPA prior to the inspections, was incomplete and did not meet the permit requirements. The BMP Plan did not identify any measures to prevent or minimize coal and/or coal dust from falling from the coal conveyor line. Since Aurora Energy did not adequately prepare a BMP Plan, the company failed to comply with the terms of its NPDES Permit in violation of Section 309(g)(2)(B) of the Federal Clean Water Act. EPA and Aurora Energy agreed to settle these violations for $33,000.

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