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State Probing Millstone Water Dumped Into Long Island Sound


State environmental officials are taking a closer look at the impact of more than two billion gallons of water discharged into Long Island Sound from Connecticut's nuclear plant.

The Day of New London reports that the so-called "thermal plume," heated discharge water, is considered by some to be a desirable side effect of Millstone on local waters.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection questions how it affects the near-shore marine environment and whether oxygen levels are sufficient to support aquatic life. Oswald Inglese,Jr., director of the Water Permit and Enforcement Division at the agency, said the state wants Millstone, owned by Dominion Resources Inc. in Richmond, Virginia, to collect stronger data on the near-shore effects.

Cathy Taylor, director of electric environmental services at Dominion, said the study is being developed.

From the article in The Day:

Results of the thermal plume study will be one of the key pieces of information DEEP will consider when Millstone applies early next year for a renewal of its water intake and discharge permits, which expire in September 2015. Taylor said Millstone plans to submit the permit application in March. It will be the first time DEEP has evaluated the plant's water use permit since the EPA's ruling in May giving state agencies more authority to factor in local conditions when interpreting the federal requirements that power plants minimize harm to marine life.Environmental groups, including the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, had been pushing for the EPA to require plants to use cooling towers rather than constant withdrawals of large quantities of water that kill fish eggs, larvae and other aquatic organisms in the process. When the EPA's decision was released, CFE officials and other environmental groups said they were disappointed, but would continue to pressure state regulators to require Millstone and other plants to build cooling towers.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.

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