Giant Fish Blenders: Power Plants Are Destroying Our Waters
As detailed in our new report titled Giant Fish Blenders: How Power Plants Kill Fish & Damage Our Waterways (And What Can Be Done to Stop Them), it is estimated that billions of fish and other aquatic organisms are killed each year by water-intake systems on outdated power plants, including coal-fired power plants. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new standards for these cooling water systems and is currently accepting public comment on the draft standards, which unfortunately fall far short of what is needed to protect fisheries and waterways.
Antiquated power plants throughout the nation use water-intake systems to help cool equipment that has generated heat during the energy-making process. This process is demonstrated in this popular animation by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore:
The EPA is charged with implementing Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act, which requires the use of the best technologies available to minimize the environmental harm of power plants’ water use.Â “Closed-cycle cooling” is the best technology available to reduce the threats of cooling water systems and is both cost-effective and already in use across the country. Closed-cycle cooling reduces water intakes by approximately 95 percent, drastically reducing the amount of water needed for power plant operations, and resulting in a corresponding reduction of the damages to fish and other species and the surrounding ecosystem. However, the EPA has proposed new federal cooling water standards that would not require utilities to use these updated systems. The public comment period for those draft standards closes on August 18 and comments can be submitted by visiting sierraclub.org/stopfishblenders.
Click for a copy of the report.
See a fact sheet on cooling systems
Fortunately, there is a better way known as "closed-cycle cooling" -- the best technology available to reduce the environmental damages from cooling water systems.
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"Chopper" Animation by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore.