Lawsuit filed against Brunner Island Power Plant in York County for polluting Susquehanna River

EAST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- Brunner Island Power Plant in York County is facing some legal challenges with the threat of being sued after a group of environmental researchers found pollution near their facility.

“We have to keep polluters accountable, that’s the most important thing with what we are dealing with today, especially in this political climate that we live in," said Ted Evgeniadis, Executive Director at Waterkeeper Alliance.

Evgeniadis says after taking water samples from Black Gut Creek, which is next to Brunner Island Power Plant in York County, he and and his team found high levels of heavy metals from coal ash dumps in the Susquehanna River.

“Onsite they have a few basins where they combine coal combustion residuals and fly ash and for a number of years now those ponds have been unlined ash pits," said Evgeniadis. “You have heavy metals such as arsenic, selenium, manganese, mercury, aluminum, lead and all of these heavy metals that are leaching into our environment," he added.

He says those heavy metals and everything that is in that ash settles to the bottom and then that water is flushed into the river through an outfall, creating pollution.

"What’s happening is these contaminants get into our water, it’s poisoning the fish and other wildlife and then god forbid if it poisons anyone that eats that fish," he added.

Which is bad news for local fishermen like Dennis Ross who owns  Herrs Bait and Tackle Shop in York Haven nearby.

“If you’re going to sue one, then they should sue them all," said Ross.

Ross says the waterways which surround Brunner Island, is an area where he grew up fishing with family.

"The sad part about it all is the kids coming up that like to fish will never get to know what we experienced down there," he added.

FOX43 reached out to Brunner Island Power Plant for comment, however our calls went unanswered.

“It’s very important that groups like us come out and do good work to make sure that our rivers and our streams and our waters stay safe, for fisherman, for boaters, for the general public," said Evgeniadis.

Owners of Brunner Island have 60 days to correct the problems that are causing pollution.

If the lawsuit is filed, they could face penalties of up to $53,000 per day for violations until the problems are corrected.