Some neighbors still not happy with Brunner Island draft permit

YORK COUNTY, Pa. --  Power plant pollution: Some neighbors say a York County power plant is operating under a permit some say needs to be updated.

They say the plant has been releasing dangerous toxins into the Susquehanna River.

Some community members in York County say Brunner Island’s current permit isn’t restrictive enough.

Those neighbors say the power plant is not being held accountable for things like water pollution and fish kills.

Officials with the Pennsylvania DEP tell FOX43 Brunner Island’s operating under terms of an *existing permit, one that hasn’t been updated in years. They've released a new draft permit with stricter regulations.

However, some people living nearby are saying it's still not enough.

A York County power plant, formerly known for its fishing and recreation, is now known by some neighbors for its dead fish, restricted public access, and pollution.

“This plant is a dirty plant, and that’s the truth," said Ted Evgeniadis, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper.

Evgeniadis says Brunner Island Power Plant in East Manchester Township is currently operating under a previous permit’s term, and that’s allowing the plant to pollute the Susquehanna River with dangerous chemicals.

"Harmful chemicals like arsenic and heavy metals, aluminum, lead, mercury, manganese, selenium… all these harmful contaminants are not listed on this permit," explained Evgeniadis.

The DEP says it's an uphill battle as they are facing challenges from the federal government.

“It [the permit] has to incorporate the most recent regulations form the federal government, and over the last couple years, the federal government has been tweaking them to some extent," said John Repetz, a spokesman for the DEP.

Still, the DEP is promising stricter regulations under this draft permit.

"Well, the one that expired in 2011, this one is much more stringent as far their discharge limits are concerned," said Repetz.

Still, some neighbors, like Dwayne Suddith, say there may already be too much damage.

“If you’re a York Water customer... I don’t care if you live in Manchester, you live in York, you live in Wrightsville, Columbia, you’re drinking the water coming out of this river," said Suddith.

He's fearful of any potential negative impacts caused by the pollution.

“These are things that make people sick ten, twenty, thirty, forty years down the road and cause birth defects in children," he added.

A spokesman for the Dep says they have until March of next year to approve a new permit. He says he’s optimistic they’ll have one sooner.