Brunner Island fined for January incident

Christopher Dornblaser

A steam electric station that officials say caused the death of more than 1,000 fish in the Susquehanna River in January was fined, according to a release from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Brunner Island

Brunner Island LLC signed a consent assessment of civil penalty, paying $25,898 as a result.

The water in the plant's discharge canal is warmer than the natural temperature of the river during the winter, and the fish are attracted to the area as a result, according to the release. Officials say in late January, the generating station experienced an equipment shutdown, stopping the warmer water from going into the channel.

The water temperature in the channel dropped approximately 13 degrees in one hour, causing the death of more than 1,100 fish, according to the release.

Todd Martin, spokesman for Talen Energy, owner of the plant, said the shutdown was because of the system monitoring conditions. He said depending on the conditions, the system will shut the equipment down. He did not know the exact conditions that caused the system to shut down on that day.

Martin said the company met with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Fish and Boat Commission shortly after the incident occurred.

“The agencies actually met with us, came out and reviewed the situation,” he said.

Martin said after that, Talen began its own internal review to see what had caused the incident.

“We have made changes to our procedures,” he said.

According to the release, the company put new procedures and equipment in place that will allow a quicker response and ensure at least a partial heating of the water being discharged.

"I think one thing to take away is our plant at Brunner Island and our company's posture is one that's very safety-focused," Martin said. "From our perspective, that's always paramount."

 — Reach Christopher Dornblaser at