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Harbor Island History

Harbor Island has been used for industrial purposed and waste disposal for over 100 years. These operations have resulted in environmental impacts that the City of Grand Haven is addressing in cooperation with EGLE.

Coal-fired power plants produce a variety of waste materials, including fly ash, bottom ash, scrubber residues and other ash.

When the JB Sims plant began operating, power plants throughout the country disposed of coal ash wastes in on-site impoundments and also used the waste as fill material. On Harbor Island, the coal ash produced by the power plant was placed in an on-site impoundment called Units 1/2, and it also was used to fill low areas surrounding the plant. After Units 1/2 were retired, the plant constructed new clay-lines coal ash units, referred to as the Unite 3A/B impoundments.

In the early 1980’s new coal ash safety regulations were passed that governed coal ash disposal and prohibited using coal ash as fill.

These new regulations allowed ash to be stored temporarily in regulated on-site “impoundments” prior to being transported to a licensed landfill. In compliance with those regulations, the coal ash produced at the JB Sims power plant initially was pumped into Unit 3A/B to dry, and the dry material was transported to a licensed landfill.

As a result of the historical coal ash management at Harbor Island, residual coal ash remains at the property. The City is working with EGLE to address coal ash that was used as fill, as well as to properly close the Units 1/2 and Unit 3A/B impoundments.