Labadie Power Station, Missouri
- Owner: Union Electric Company
- Parent Company: Ameren
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 2,389 MW
- Units and In-Service Dates: 574 MW (1970), 574 MW (1971), 621 MW (1972), 621 MW (1973)
- Location: 10 Labadie Power Plant Rd., Labadie, MO 63055
- GPS Coordinates: 38.56419, -90.83728
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees
In June 2010, environmental groups voiced opposition to a plan from Ameren to build a 400-acre coal ash landfill for the plant near the Missouri River, about 35 miles west of St. Louis. The group is trying to prevent the county from changing its zoning regulations. The environmentalists say the changes would make it too easy for Ameren to put a landfill in an area not zoned for waste disposal. Patricia Schuba with the Labadie Environmental Organization says coal ash contaminants could leach into groundwater and the Missouri River: “Fifty percent of Missourians drink from Missouri River water. So this is an issue that has been painted as very local, but it’s truly a metro St. Louis issue.” Ameren officials say the landfill would be lined to prevent groundwater contamination and surrounded by a berm to keep out flood water.
On December 14, 2010, in the first hearing on the new waste site, environmentalists and residents urged the Franklin County Commission to hold off on a proposed change in the zoning code that would pave the way for Ameren Missouri to build the new coal ash landfill near the Labadie plant. The group said the commission should wait to act until the Environmental Protection Agency announces its long-planned coal waste regulations. The group also called for an advisory committee on the issue, reflecting environmentalists’ longtime concerns that Ameren’s proposed landfill could leak in the event of a disaster, causing heavy metals from ash to enter the St. Louis area’s drinking water and pose serious health risks.
If the commission approves the zoning change, Ameren would still need a variety of government permits to build its landfill. Construction likely would not occur for another two years. Ameren captures about 99 percent of the ash that its coal-fired power plants would otherwise emit. About half the waste is recycled, according to the utility, but the rest must be disposed. Ameren proposed the landfill because its existing coal-ash ponds are reaching capacity. The landfill’s proposed location is in a flood plain. Environmentalists and their experts said a landfill in a flood plain has an especially high risk of leaking toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and selenium into groundwater in the event of a flood or earthquake. They’re concerned that the toxins could make their way down the Missouri River, which supplies drinking water across the St. Louis region.
Even if the commission amends its landfill code to allow Ameren’s landfill to go forward, environmentalists said they don’t want a landfill that falls below EPA’s eventual standards. If Ameren gets approval on the landfill before EPA enacts its regulations, then the landfill would be grandfathered under existing standards.
- Veronique LaCapra, “Franklin County residents fight coal ash landfill plan” St. Louis Public Radio, June 15, 2010.
- Puneet Kollipara, “Labadie environmentalists protest zoning change to allow coal-ash landfill” St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 15, 2010.
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Visit Labadie Environmental Organization for more.