Entergy’s Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR) for April and June show that the leak Entergy had identified on February 27, 2014 still has not been fixed. Entergy’s “Fire Water Tank” has a valve that has been leaking sodium nitrite (a corrosion inhibitor and additive to industrial greases) and tolytriazole (a corrosion inhibitor) into the surface waters of Cape Cod Bay for the past 4 months. Since March, Entergy has reported in its DMRs that it will “not be able to address this until the station heating system is taken out of service this summer” due to the “difficulty in isolating and repairing this gradual leak.”
According to Entergy’s estimates (not actual measurements), the leak rate into outfall #001 is less than one gallon per day (below 1440 gallons per day), which is “within the limits of our NPDES permit.” However, this NPDES permit expired in 1996 and has not been renewed since then. Furthermore, Entergy’s NPDES permit does not mention tolytriazole at all. The discharge of tolytriazole was only “approved” in a letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and after the permit was already issued. Furthermore, the change was not made according to any sort of normal permit modification process and the letter only approved the discharge of tolytriazole for outfall #011, not #001, where this recent leak is occurring.
Outfall #011 leads to the Discharge Canal and therefore to Cape Cod Bay. Whereas outfall #001 leads to the intake canal, meaning the pollutants are likely recirculated though the system. Discharges to outfall #011 could have a direct undiluted impact on the Bay and should be regulated more closely. When the Pilgrim Administrative-Technical Committee (PATC) was in existence, as required by the expired NPDES permit, they would have reviewed this and established a protocol to protect the Bay and its species. The PATC was an advisory committee to Boston Edison, the original owner of Pilgrim, established in 1969 to ensure that Pilgrim’s marine studies benefited from qualified scientific and technical advice and was composed of representatives from the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries, Mass. Division of Water Pollution Control, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service (Dept. of the Interior), University of Massachusetts, and Boston Edison. However, under the present paradigm, Entergy gets to choose and the health of the marine life is apparently not a consideration. Entergy disbanded the PATC in 2000, shortly after it purchased the Pilgrim facility.
Because Entergy believes that this sodium nitrite/tolytriazole leak is below the permitted limit, combined with the fact that it is difficult to find and fix, there is no plan of action in place.