Homer City Generating Station

Homer City Generating Station is located in Indiana County, Pennsylvania and is a coal burning facility owned by Edison International. It has three separate units and was opened in 1969. The total capacity of the three units combined is 2012 MWe, with Unit 3 having the largest capacity. In total the station employs 260 people and can create enough electricity to supply two million homes. The Unit 3 chimney is the tallest in the United States at 1,217 ft. Throughout its history Homer City Generating Station has had a reasonably respectable record of keeping its workers safe and ensuring that the power station was run in accordance with guidelines laid down by the relevant authorities. However, there was a recent incident in February 2011 in which six workers were injured after a steam pipe burst and caused an explosion. All six men involved were treated and made a full recovery during an OSHA investigation. When it comes to the environmental impact that Homer City Generating Station has, it ranks highly in the national tables. In fact, it is currently considered to be the second largest polluter in the whole of Pennsylvania State, releasing 8,500,000 pounds of chemicals in to the atmosphere each year. Some of the chemicals released include sulfur dioxide, mercury and selenium, which may be harmful to the environment when discharged in large enough quantities. As with most power plants built up to the 1970s, asbestos was likely used when the Homer City Generating Station was built, which was a risk for all of the workers that were employed there. Even while the risks of asbestos were mostly unknown by the employees of such facilities at the time, it caused widespread health problems for those exposed to it. Illnesses such as asbestosis and mesothelioma can be caused by exposure to asbestos, meaning that former workers in this plant may have suffered health issues as a result. Employees returning home to family members may have exposed them to asbestos residue, as it was often the case that chemicals causing illness were brought home on either the clothes or the skin. References:
  • Templeton, David. (February 11, 2011). “Six hurt in power plant blast.” Retrieved March 30, 2011 from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.