EPA Warns Holtec Against Discharging Water from Pilgrim Into Cape Cod Bay


PLYMOUTH – An official with the Environmental Protection Agency has written a letter to Holtec International urging the company to not release 1 million gallons of radioactive water from the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station into Cape Cod Bay.

The EPA letter was sent on June 17 and was written by Ken Moraff, Director of its Water Division at the agency’s Boston branch.

Moraff’s message was a response to a  letter sent by Holtec on May 24. Moraff said the company “presented an alternative interpretation” of what Holtec is allowed to discharge based off the language of a certain permit.

Moraff explained in the letter that the EPA did not agree with Holtec’s position.

“Your novel interpretation – through which you attempt to narrow the permit’s prohibition of wastewater discharges to ‘untreated’ effluent – directly conflicts with the ‘plain language’ of the permit,” he wrote.

In a later section, the EPA official writes that a permit the company holds for the decommissioning process “does not authorize the discharge of pollutants associated with the spent-fuel pool water.”

Moraff also wrote that Holtec had missed their opportunity to challenge specific language in a section of the permit after they appealed several other parts of the permit back in March of 2020.

The letter states that Holtec shared some sampling results of the water, but Moraff underlined that the information provided to the EPA was not adequate to make a regulatory decision.

“In summary, Holtec Pilgrim is not authorized under the current NPDES Permit to discharge pollutants in spent fuel pool water,” Moraff wrote at the end of the letter.

The letter closed by stating if Holtec wants EPA approval of the discharges, it would have to provide the needed information to the EPA to make sure any action would be compliant with the Clean Water Act.  

According to a report by Fox 25, the letter was released by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).

Read the full text of the EPA letter here.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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