FirstEnergy to Ship Coal Ash Downriver to Moundsville

Murray subsidiary to reuse coal combustion residuals

Wheeling Intelligencer
3 December 2016
By Casey Junkins, Business/Energy Writer

MOUNDSVILLE–Via four or five Ohio River barges per day, coal ash waste from the FirstEnergy Corp. Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Pa. will travel to the Murray Energy Corp. reclamation site near Moundsville.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines coal ash as the remnants of the mineral burned during electricity generation.

Though technically “non-hazardous” material, the product contains trace amounts of materials such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic, which the EPA believes can harm air and water supplies.

“The company plans to send 80 percent of the coal combustion residuals produced at Bruce Mansfield to the Moundsville site for reclamation,” FirstEnergy spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said Friday.

Gary Broadbent serves as a spokesman for Murray, which now refers to the complex once known as the McElroy Mine as the Marshall County Coal Co.

“The Marshall County Coal Co., a subsidiary of Murray American Energy Inc., confirms that it is working closely with FirstEnergy Corp. to beneficially reuse coal combustion residuals from the Bruce Mansfield Plant, in Shippingport, Pa., at Marshall County’s reclamation site in Moundsville,” Broadbent said.

Neither Murray nor FirstEnergy would confirm the exact location of the reclamation site.

Coal ash is not necessarily garbage. According to the Duke University Center for Sustainability and Commerce, rare earth elements are also prevalent in Appalachia coal ash.
Some of these rare earth elements, often used in personal electronic devices, can fetch more than $2,000 per pound on the open market.

Rated at 2,490 megawatts, the Bruce Mansfield plant is the largest generating station in Pennsylvania, capable of producing enough electricity to power about 1.5 million homes. It also is one of the most highly controlled facilities in the country, utilizing scrubbers, selective catalytic reduction technology and other advanced environmental equipment.

“Selection of this site means that 100 percent of the coal combustion residuals created at the Bruce Mansfield Plant will now be sustainably recycled or beneficially reused,” Don Moul, senior vice president of Fossil Operations and Environmental for FirstEnergy said. “After thorough consideration, the company determined that this option provided the most environmentally sustainable and cost-effective solution.”

Approximately 80 percent of the Bruce Mansfield Plant’s coal ash will be used for mine reclamation, while the remainder will continue to be recycled into drywall by National Gypsum at its production facility located in Shippingport.

Prior to shipment, excess moisture from the coal ash will be removed at the Mansfield plant’s new $260 million dewatering facility. FirstEnergy currently places a portion of its materials at the Little Blue Run disposal facility that straddles the line between Hancock County and Pennsylvania, which the company can no longer use beyond Dec. 31.