Environmental Aspects

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Energy Northwest ​​​​​reviews all its activities for potential impact on the environment, and has identified those aspects that could have a significant impact if they were not controlled. This information is used to​ develop programs to prevent or mitigate potential impacts and to establish prioritized goals, objectives, and targets for continually improving ​performance​.​​ 

Carbon-free energy generation

​Energy Northwest is a clean energy provider, and is committed to providing reliable, affordable, environmentally responsible electricity to the Northwest power grid. The company continues to explore and develop new, carbon-free energy generation opportunities and implement enhancements to existing projects to achieve generation efficiency.

Energy consumption

​Energy Northwest actively supports efforts to promote energy efficiency and conservation and seeks to reduce its consumption of energy at its facilities.  Reduction in energy consumption reduces the cost of operating Energy Northwest facilities reducing cost of generation ultimately saving rate payers.  

Waste generation

​As a byproduct of our operations, we generate waste. These wastes include materials common to many businesses such as paper, aerosol cans, batteries, oils, paints and construction debris. Operation of the Columbia Generating Station also results in the generation of hazardous and radioactive waste streams subject to additional regulation and special handling requirements. These wastes are carefully managed in compliance with stringent State of Washington Department of Ecology regulations. We handle our waste in various ways, including non-hazardous and hazardous waste recycling, onsite treatment to reduce hazard or volume, accumulation for offsite disposal and operation of an inert waste landfill.

Energy Northwest seeks to minimize its generation of waste, especially hazardous and radioactive waste. We conduct pollution prevention opportunity assessments to identify and implement activities that reduce waste and we have a comprehensive recycling program. The major objectives of the Radioactive Waste Management Program are to limit, control, minimize, and measure the production of radioactive materials in solid waste, gaseous emissions and liquid discharges.

Atmospheric emissions

​In accordance with federal and state regulations, Energy Northwest operations are permitted to release a limited amount of gaseous emissions to the air. As a clean energy provider, Energy Northwest seeks to minimize any hazardous and radioactive emissions to the air, both through careful controls and through minimizing the use of fuels and materials that create hazardous gases.

​Liquid discharges

In accordance with federal and state regulations, Energy Northwest operations at Columbia Generating Station are permitted to release a limited amount of wastewater to the Columbia River. This water is tested to verify compliance with the agency's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and automatically isolates water flow if necessary. The Station uses water from the Columbia River as cooling water in its routine operation. Wastewater is treated, routinely tested for metals, chemicals, and radionuclides, and then returned to the river. We also maintain a sanitary wastewater treatment facility for all our routine operations.

​Storage of use of chemicals or radioactive materials

Energy Northwest seeks to minimize its storage or use of materials that may pose a risk to the environment, including petroleum, chemicals, and radioactive materials. Our Chemical Management Program for Columbia Generating Station was initiated as an industry good practice for controlling chemicals harmful to plant systems, structures, components, and personnel. The program is based on pre-screening and approval of chemicals for specific uses through the issuance of chemical “permits.” In addition to minimizing the unintentional contamination of process fluids and reducing the potential for corrosion of system component materials, the program contains elements to minimize fire hazards, the use of hazardous substances, chemical exposures to personnel, and the generation of hazardous and mixed wastes.

​Land use 

Energy Northwest seeks to reduce its footprint on the natural landscape whenever possible. Impacts are anticipated and minimized through a comprehensive work planning and control process. Additionally, the agency utilizes land to reduce impacts and risks to natural resources and pursue opportunities to improve the environment. 

Learn more: 

Environmental Stewardship Policy