C.D. McIntosh Power Plant

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm}} C.D. McIntosh Jr. Power Plant is a 363.8-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by the City of Lakeland, Florida.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: City of Lakeland, Florida
  • Parent Company: City of Lakeland, Florida
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 363.8 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 3: 363.8 MW (1982)
  • Location: 3030 East Lake Parker Dr., Lakeland, FL 33805
  • GPS Coordinates: 28.081194, -81.922639
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Jad Coal Dayhoit Tipple Mine; Air Quality Mine; Alpha Natural Resources Creech 1 Mine.[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Scheduled for retirement in 2024 [2]

In May 2019, Lakeland’s city council approved a plan by Lakeland Electric to retire the plant by 2024.[3]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,713,961 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 6,129 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 5,221 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 91 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the McIntosh Power Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[4] The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma-related episodes and asthma-related emergency room visits, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, peneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution is formed from a combination of soot, acid droplets, and heavy metals formed from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and soot. Among those particles, the most dangerous are the smallest (smaller than 2.5 microns), which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities.

The table below estimates the death and illness attributable to the McIntosh Power Plant. Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[5]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the McIntosh Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 5 $38,000,000
Heart attacks 7 $770,000
Asthma attacks 75 $4,000
Hospital admissions 4 $90,000
Chronic bronchitis 3 $1,300,000
Asthma ER visits 5 $2,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Coal Ash Waste

Report on Water Contamination

In August 2010, a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," reported that Florida had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash.[6][7]The report identified 39 coal combustion waste (CCW) disposal sites in 21 states that have contaminated groundwater or surface water with toxic metals and other pollutants, including McIntosh, based on monitoring data and other information available in state agency files. The report built on an earlier 2010 report by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites", which documented similar damage at another 31 coal combustion waste dumpsites in 14 states. When added to the 67 damage cases that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has already acknowledged, the total number of sites polluted by coal ash or coal scrubber sludge comes to at least 137 in 34 states.

The report found that the coal ash site for the McIntosh Power Plant contained arsenic, cadmium, lead, selenium, and nitrates at levels above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). In 2010, MCL for arsenic was exceeded in 15 wells. The plant is near Lake Parker, which is densely populated and used recreationally.[8]

State regulations versus federal

As of November 2011, the McIntosh Power Plant has a mound of more than 100,000 tons of fly ash. If the EPA were to label the ash a hazardous waste under federal regulation, the new classification would mean updating the protections at existing plant landfills to ensure security against groundwater contamination. Because much of Florida has absorbent soil and high groundwater levels, Lakeland and other cities said they would likely have to ship the ash out of state to the nearest approved landfill - which is in Emelle, Alabama, which is already home to the nation's largest hazardous waste landfill. If Lakeland had paid for the service in fiscal year 2010, it would have been about $5 million, according to data provided by the city. Statewide, energy officials estimated a price tag of up to $312 million.

In 2005, the city began selling a large portion of the ash to firms connected to the construction industry, for use in concrete. The business quickly became lucrative for the city, bringing in more than $1 million in revenue in fiscal year 2008 and reducing the size of the city's storage problem. Then, the housing market collapsed, slashing those earnings in the following years by as much as 94 percent. In fiscal year 2010, the city made only $60,347, even though records show it sold more ash than ever, due to falling demand and costs. Still, the state said that they are worried that under federal regulations, they would not be able to sell the ash for use in industrial and consumer production.[9]

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

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