Stanton Station

The Stanton Station power plant is located near the city of Stanton, North Dakota. The station is on a 250-acre land site by the Missouri River. In 1966, Stanton Station started operating with just one boiler. In 1982, the facility added another boiler, both of which power a single 190 megawatt capable turbine.  Great River Energy both owns and operates the coal-fired power station.

Today, these boilers work to send steam into the turbine at high temperatures of approximately 1,000 Fahrenheit. The boilers release steam to the plant’s turbine at pressures verging on 1,800 pounds per each square inch. The generator creates an alternating current at approximately 18,000 volts as it rotates 3,600 revolutions per minute. The voltage rises to 230,000 volts inside the chief generator. Currently, about 850,000 tons of coal is used to create electricity at the facility. The station employs about 70 employees to operate the plant, which is in use 24 hours a day every day of the year.

Stanton Station has a high-tech emissions monitoring operations system, and efforts are still under way to reduce emissions at the plant. The facility currently participates in multi-million dollar mercury research projects to measure and decrease the amount of mercury emissions.

Great River is currently partnered with the Coal Combustion Partnership Program developed by the EPA. This program promotes and encourages Stanton Station’s utilization of products conducive to coal combustion, including fly ash. Fly ash from the plant aids in soil stabilization methods and solidifies oil waste. This reduces the demand for clay. In 2008 alone, approximately 29,000 tons of Stanton Station’s fly ash was purchased.

Despite these efforts to clean up its act, Stanton Station is still powered by coal, the burning of which releases fine particle pollution into the atmosphere.  Although Stanton is a smaller plant, a 2010 study by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that pollution from the station may be responsible for 26 heart attacks, 280 asthma attacks, 12 hospital admissions, and ten deaths.  In 2006, the plant released 1,563,756 tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

In addition to particulate pollution, Stanton Station may have also posed a health risk to its workers in the form of asbestos.  This mineral was commonly used in power plants built in the 1960s and 1970s, and tiny asbestos fibers that escaped from insulating materials may still be in the lungs of workers who came in contact with these materials.