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Coal-Powered Plant in WV Using New Technology to Remove Selenium

American Electric's coal-fired power plant in Mason County will be the first in West Virginia to use a new technology that removes selenium from its wastewater.

The naturally occurring element is harmless in small amounts but can be toxic to aquatic life at high concentrations.

The Mountaineer Power Plant is installing a $27 million system called ABMet, or Advanced Biological Metals Removal.

Spokeswoman Melissa McHenry tells West Virginia Public Broadcasting that AEP is trying to get ahead of new nationwide selenium limits that will go into effect next year.

System inventor Tim Pickett says it's basically a biological filter that uses a special kind of bacteria-laced carbon enclosed in a tank that holds the wastewater.

The metals sink to the bottom and cleaner water is discharged.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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