DEP fines Brunner Island $25K for 2016 fish kill

David Weissman
York Dispatch
Brunner Island Power Plant, Wednesday, February 14, 2018. John A. Pavoncello photo

The owners of Brunner Island Power Plant agreed to pay a $25,000 civil penalty to the state Department of Environmental Protection after the agency determined the York Haven facility caused the death of about 12,000 fish in late 2016.

The power plant's generating station releases treated water into the Susquehanna River and, when the facility initiated a shutdown on Dec. 20-21, 2016, the water temperature in the discharge channel dropped, shocking the fish, according to the DEP.

In addition to the fine, Brunner Island has agreed to notify the DEP within four hours of a shutdown if it results in a six-degree temperature change during a one-hour period.

The facility, owned by Talen Energy, has appeared in the news several times during the past few months.

More:York Haven's Brunner Island agrees to stop burning coal

More:Federal court: EPA must act on Brunner Island petition

More:Talen Energy closes access to popular fishing spot surrounding Brunner Island

Numerous residents have complained after the company abruptly closed off public access to popular fishing and recreation spots surrounding the plant in November.

In February, the company announced it had reached an agreement with a nationwide environmental group to significantly reduce its coal usage by 2023 and completely eliminate it before 2029.

For decades, the York Haven power plant operated exclusively as a coal-fired plant, but a multimillion-dollar renovation completed in 2017 upgraded the facility to a co-fire plant, allowing it to burn coal or natural gas.