Miami Fort Power Station

The Miami Fort Power Station is a coal-fired electrical generating facility located near the town of North Bend, Ohio. It has been in existence since the 1940s and is operated by Cincinnati Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of Duke Energy. A total of 1,321 megawatts of electricity is produced by the power station, which sits near the tripoint of the states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Duke Energy is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina and is one of the largest energy producing companies in the United States.

The original four boiler units at the Miami Fort Power Station were typical coal furnace units and have since been retired from service. The units in operation today are numbered 5 through 8, each of which is fueled by bituminous coal. In addition to the coal-burning units, there are four separate units that run on distillate fuel oil; units GT3 and GT4 began operations in the summer of 1971 and were soon followed by units GT5 and GT6 several months afterwards. Power generated at the facility is carried by the Midwest Transmission System Operator.

As recently as 2006 the Miami Fort Power Station was ranked in the top 40 dirtiest electrical generating stations powered by coal. This ranking is based on the amount of sulfur dioxide emitted per megawatt-hour of total electrical energy. In response to recent studies the power station has upgraded its technology for capturing pollutants, particularly fine particles of heavy metals and other soot, before they become airborne and escape the facility. Coal-burning plants such as the Miami Fort station often employ scrubbers and cloth type capture bags above the furnaces; new environmental standards require nearly all such particulates be trapped within the power plant.

The Miami Fort Power Station was first operated in the late 1940s and at that time the dangers of asbestos were not widely known. Asbestos was often used in power stations such as Miami Fort, not only as an insulating material but also as a coating for wires and hot pipes. Asbestos fibers are tiny, lightweight and made up of mineral silicate. If inhaled, these fibers can lay dormant in the lungs for decades before causing a number of health problems.  Much of the asbestos has been removed from power stations, smelting factories and shipyards around the world, but former employees of the Miami Fort Power Station and similar operations may have been exposed to asbestos for years without knowing the consequences.