The Walter C. Beckjord Generating Station was a 1.43-gigawatt (1,433 MW), dual-fuel power generating facility located near New Richmond, Ohio, 22 miles east of Cincinnati, Ohio. The plant began operation in 1952 and was decommissioned in 2014. It was jointly owned by Duke Energy, American Electric Power (AEP) and Dayton Power & Light (DP&L).
Of the two Beckjord power plants, one was coal-fired (Units 1-6) and the other was oil-fired (Units GT 1-GT4). It was originally built by Cinergy (originally Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company (GC&E), which was bought by Duke energy in 2006. The plant is named after Walter C. Beckjord), chairman of CG&E from 1957 to 1962. CG&E installed new electrostatic precipitators at Beckjord in the 1970s to reduce pollution mandated by the State of Ohio.
Owner(s) – Duke Energy, American Electric Power & Dayton Power & Light
Operator(s) – Duke Energy
Thermal power station:
Primary fuel – Coal & Oil
Cooling source – Ohio River
Power generation – Nameplate capacity 1,433 MW
Closure and decommissioning
In July 2011, Duke energy announced that Beckjord would shut down in January 2015 because of tightening environmental regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outweighed the benefits of retrofitting the plant. The shut down was accelerated to November 2014 after an open valve caused an oil spill into the Ohio River the previous August. Duke Energy plead guilty in federal court in 2016 for spilling 9,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the Ohio River. The company was fined $1 million for the spill.
In 2015, Duke Energy installed a battery-based energy storage at the site for the purpose of regulating frequency in the electric grid. As a part of the decommissioning process, Duke Energy terminated their lease with the New Richmond Soccer Association who played soccer matched adjacent to Beckjord.
Duke Energy, American Electric Power and Dayton Power & Light, on February 27, 2018, they finalized the sale of the their retired Walter C. Beckjord coal-fired power plant to Commercial Liability Partners (CLP) financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. The News release said CLP will repurpose much of the property for future development and work under the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s direction to determine final environmental plans. The site includes the station and surrounding coal ash ponds.
The site required extensive cleanup before CLP can repurpose it. Four unlined ponds around the property are packed with coal ash, which contains the toxic waste left- over when coal is burned to make electricity. Coal ash contains arsenic, chromium and vanadium. The leakage from one pond contained an estimated 10 billion pounds of toxins forcing Clermont County to shut down a contaminated drinking water well in the 80s.
Since 2014, Clermont County has pressured Ohio EPA and Duke Energy Ohio for a timely and environmentally protective closure of the coal ash ponds (A,B & C) will assure harmful constituents of coal ash do not continue to leach from these ponds to groundwater beneath and adjacent to these ponds (impoundments). The contaminated groundwater then discharges to the Ohio River. It also migrates toward the public drinking water well field operated by Clermont County. A groundwater interceptor well formerly operated by Duke Energy Ohio (and presumably now operated by Commercial Liability Partner) currently captures contaminated before it enters the public drinking water supply, but an extensive groundwater quality monitoring system has been required to confirm the extent of contamination and the effectiveness of the interceptor well.
Progress Point is a remediation and redevelopment project located at the former sire of the Beckjord Power Station on the Ohio River. In February of 2018, Commercial Liability Partners (CLP) purchased the retired 1,443 acre site of the Walter C. Beckjord 1,500 MW coal-fired power plant in New Richmond, Ohio, with plans to repurpose much of the property for future development. Under the terms of the sale, CLP is managing groundwater monitoring, abatement, decommissioning, demolition of the facility and additional environmental needs. CLP and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) are working together to determine final environmental plans for the site
which includes the station and surrounding coal ash ponds.
Project Updates (July 2019 – latest report available)
* Pond A – Coal ash is being removed.
* Pond B – Leachate sample testing, will determine passive treatment feasibility is being conducted. Design and permitting of the alternative treatment system are expected to be completed by Fall 2019. Final closure design will be completed alongside leachate treatment design and permitting.
*Pond C – The coal ash placement design is underway. The perimeter dikes will be regarded to improve slope stability. Closure design is estimated to be submitted in early Fall 2019.
* Pond C extension- is approved to receive the ash from Pond A. The final closure design, including capping, will be completed at a later date.
In addition to the work on the ponds, updates on the demolition and
abatement within the main building are as follows:
* Asbestos Abatement in Building: 100% Complete
* Universal Waste Removal in building; 98% Complete
* Boiler & Precipitator Decommissioning: 80% Complete
* Main Demolition Estimated Start Date: September 2019
Additionally, the first phase of geotechnical investigations and sampling has been completed for the Pond Run Long-Term Ash Disposal Facility. A second phase of geotechnical investigation is in progress to fill limited data gaps. The closure design will start in fall 2019.
Beckjord was partially demolished on May 8, 2020.
A planned implosion of some of the existing structures took place in the morning of May 8. The goal was to safely demolish these structures with a minimum of disruption to the local community. The air quality of the implosion was monitored in the immediate area.