Water Quality and Stewardship
Water is a critical input to producing electricity. It is used in power plant boilers and is also used for cooling, cleaning and transporting fly ash and bottom ash.
Water quality, availability, use and management are increasingly important issues for our society. We are taking steps to reduce our water consumption, improve our water quality and address water availability issues as we comply with current regulations and prepare for new ones.
Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project
The value of water came into sharp focus when a chemical from a local company leaked into the Elk River in West Virginia early this year, contaminating municipal drinking water supplies serving about 300,000 residents. A state and federal disaster declaration imposed a water ban, warning the public not to consume or use tap water in a nine-county region.
We immediately reached out to our employees in affected areas to inform them of the water ban and the associated health concerns. We gave our employees bottled water and hand sanitizer and posted water use warning signs.
This event served as a sobering reminder of how precious this natural resource is to our everyday lives – much like electricity.
AEP is one of the first utilities in the nation to take part in the world’s largest interstate water quality trading plan. Representatives from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky pledged their support to the plan in 2012, and the first trades took place in March 2014, culminating a five-year effort. AEP began working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and other partners in 2011 on a market-based approach to improve Ohio River water quality. The program is good for farmers, the environment and the participating companies.
AEP is one of 15 companies that have joined EPRI and the Southern Research Institute in founding a first-of-a-kind research facility to address power plants’ water usage and treatment. The new Water Research Center at Georgia Power Company’s Plant Bowen was dedicated late last year. The center will focus on finding new ways to manage and treat wastewater and to reduce and conserve water that power plants use.
AEP has participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project Water Survey for four years now. In 2013, the questionnaire was issued on behalf of 530 investors representing $57 trillion in assets who seek business-critical information about water consumption and water use strategy and planning. In addition, AEP provides extensive water data in our Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report.