Homer City Generating Station
Homer City Generating Station is a 2- GW coal-burning power station near Homer City, in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, USA. It is owned by Edison International and operated by its subsidiary Midwest Generation. Units 1 and 2, rated at 660 MWe, were launched into operation in 1969. Unit 3, rated at 692 MWe nameplate capacity, was launched in 1977. It employs about 260 people (75% union workers), and generates enough electricity to supply two million households.

The station is located in Center Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, occupying approximately 2,400 acres (9.7 km 2). The site also includes the 1,800-acre (7.3 km 2) Two Lick Reservoir, a water conservation facility which is operated by the station.

Coal supply
As of 2005, bituminous coal was delivered to the Homer City Generating Station by truck. Units 1 and 2 burned local Pennsylvania coal (that is cleaned on site in a coal cleaning plant) or Western Pennsylvania Pittsburgh seam coal. A flue gas desulfurization unit (scrubber) was added to Unit 3 which allows the unit to burn local coal. But now with diminishing local coal and mines to support it, they have reopened the train track that runs through Indiana University of Pennsylvania and now supplies are brought in by train.

Until its construction in the 1960s by the Pennsylvania Electric Co. (PennElec) and others, much of the property was owned by the Benamati family who continue to reside in and around Homer City. The property was originally acquired by Giovanni Batista Benamati in the 1920's. Benamati, who immigrated from Malcesine, Italy, acquired the property from the Houston family, many of whom were buried in a family plot on the Benamati farm. Giovanni's son, John, owned one of two farms that would eventually be acquired by the electricity consortium. Another of the two farms was acquired in about 1950 by Thomas Guy Benamati, another of Giovanni's sons. Thomas raised turkeys until 1952 when he sold the property to his brother Peter. Peter continued to operate the farm until he sold it to PennElec. Throughout the 1950's and early 1960's, the family managed to survive raising turkeys, practicing family-farm agriculture, and carrying on other sustaining occupations such as delivering milk to dairies and long-haul trucking.

Water use
Boiler water make up, condenser cooling water and potable water is taken from Two Lick Creek, processed through various pretreatment facilities, used and discharged through various environmental treatment facilities and returned to Two Lick Creek and Blacklick Creek.From there the Black Lick enters the Conemaugh River, which goes on to meet the Loyalhanna River, creating the Kiskiminetas River, before entering the Allegheny River.

This plant is a major polluter, ranking highly both nationally and within the state, recently releasing 8,500,000 pounds (3,860 metric tons) of toxic chemicals according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette . Pennsylvania has ranked it the #2 polluter in the state. Homer City Generating Station releases huge amounts of mercury, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and other toxic or damaging chemicals. A scrubber was added in 1998 which reduced mercury output.

Mercury pollution
  • In 1998, Homer City Generating Station produced a total (air and other) of 2,963 pounds (1,344 kg) of mercury according to the Environmental Working Group.
  • In 2002, one source ( Clear the Air (Hong Kong)) claims its air output of mercury was 545 pounds (247 kg).
  • For 2003 another source ( Environment Maine Research and Policy Center) claims it produced 665 pounds (302 kg) of mercury air pollution.

Sulfur dioxide (SO 2) pollution
  • In 1995, Homer City put out 127,383 pounds (57.780 metric tons) of SO 2.
  • In 2003, Homer City put out 151,262 pounds (68.611 metric tons) of SO 2 and was ranked SO 2 polluter #4 in the nation.

Selenium in wastewater discharges
In 2007, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined the owners of the Homer City electricity generating station, EME Homer City Generation LP, $200,000 for violating the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law. The station exceeded its permitted effluent standards for selenium, total suspended solids, and biochemical oxygen demand in its wastewater discharges, and allowed unpermitted discharges of stormwater associated with its flue gas desulfurization scrubbers. "The facility has exceeded the effluent standards of its permit numerous times between December 2001 and the present, and this pattern of violations has to be addressed," DEP Southwest Regional Director Kenneth Bowman was quoted saying.

Carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions
In 2003, Homer City put out 14,000,000 pounds (6,400 metric tons) of CO 2 and was ranked CO 2 emitter #28 in the nation. According to Public Citizen: "The plant ranks #33 in the nation for total CO 2 emissions, contributing 13,745,174 tons of the pollutant primarily responsible for global warming to our atmosphere."

Architectural Mention
The plant's Unit 3 has a 371 metre (1,217 ft) tall chimney, which was built in 1977. This chimney is currently the third tallest chimney in the world, and the tallest in the United States. On clear days, it is possible to spot the chimney from as far south as Greensburg, Pennsylvania and as far east as Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.


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