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Dresden Nuclear Power Station to help prevent ice jams, flash floods in Kankakee River

IEPA, IEMA plan involves discharging water from cooling ponds

information provided by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (February 2, 2019) — In an effort to help address recent ice jams, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, is working with Exelon Corporation and the Will County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) on the continued discharge of warm water from the Dresden Nuclear Power Station’s cooling pond to the Kankakee River.

The Kankakee River has historically been subject to flash flooding as a result of ice packs forming on the river. As a result, the Army Corp of Engineers conducted a study in the late 1980s and developed an operational plan in 1993 (The River Ice Management Project) for controlling or preventing ice jams. Through the study, a warm-water siphon was constructed for discharge of water from the Dresden Power Station cooling pond into the Kankakee River.

As part of normal operations, the Dresden Power Station draws water from the Kankakee River, which is used for the cooling process at the facility and is discharged to the Illinois River. In order to address ice jams, a portion of water that is normally discharged to the Illinois River will be diverted to the Kankakee River and discharged through three siphons from the cooling pond.

Temperature changes due to the discharge will have no anticipated impact on aquatic life given the flow of the Kankakee River and the maximum flow of water from the siphons. As a result, water quality standards will continue to be met in the Kankakee River.

The situation will continue to be monitored by Will County EMA and Exelon Corporation pursuant to a monitoring plan and reported to the Illinois EPA on a daily basis to determine the duration and the need to continue the warm-water discharge.

The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.


  1. How closely does the cooling aspect of the river water get to the nuclear emissions and does it pick up more than just heat? Are there any changes in vegetation or aquatic life?

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