December 14, 2005
Springfield, Mo. — Under an agreement to help protect fish in the James River, City Utilities of Springfield will take steps to better control the temperature of water discharged from one of its cooling towers. The agreement between City Utilities, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Attorney General Jay Nixon was announced today by Nixon.
City Utilities' James River Power Plant discharges cooling water into Lake Springfield, which then flows across the Lake Springfield Dam and into the James River. The discharged water can be several degrees warmer than the ambient water temperature. The Department of Natural Resources found that rapid water temperature fluctuations caused by the discharge killed thousands of fish in the river in 2001 and 2002.
"This was a challenge to help protect the environmental quality of one of our state's premier rivers and, at the same time, continue to serve the utility needs of thousands of customers in Springfield," Nixon said. "This agreement strives to meet those two goals, and I'm pleased that we were able to reach this innovative resolution with City Utilities."
The agreement calls for the utility to add four cells to the existing cooling tower at the James River Power Station. This would increase the total capacity of the cooling tower by approximately one-third and would better control the temperature of the cooling water that is discharged.
In addition to the improvements to the cooling tower, City Utilities agreed to pay $54,999 to the state to resolve Nixon's concerns. The Missouri Department of Conservation will receive $44,860 to protect and promote aquatic resources, and the Department of Natural Resources will receive $10,139 for costs associated with investigating the fish kills in the James River. As part of the settlement, City Utilities also agreed to comply with the Missouri Clean Water Law and relevant regulations for any and all future operations.