DEP: FirstEnergy Must Close Beaver County Ash Dump by End of
3 April 2014
By Tom Fontaine, Staff Reporter
Tom Fontaine 412-320-7847
The state Department of Environmental Protection said on Thursday
that it is giving FirstEnergy 14 years to close a sprawling
coal-ash dump that has polluted groundwater in Beaver County and
West Virginia's northern panhandle.
The DEP issued a closure permit that requires FirstEnergy to
complete all work associated with closing the 978-acre impoundment
known as Little Blue Run by Dec. 31, 2028. The deadline is three
years sooner than the company proposed but slower than community
and environmental groups wanted.
The permit requires FirstEnergy to monitor groundwater and surface
water from more than 300 locations instead of the 74 sites that
the company proposed. FirstEnergy must control noise, odors and
particulate emissions from the dump, among other requirements.
The dump is a sprawling pond that covers about one-fifth of Greene
Township and reaches into West Virginia. FirstEnergy's Bruce
Mansfield power plant in Shippingport — the largest in the state —
pumps about 3 million gallons of waste slurry into it every day
via four underground pipes stretching seven miles.
FirstEnergy, based in Akron, agreed to stop pumping coal-waste
slurry into the dump by Dec. 31, 2016.
“The process to close the largest coal combustion waste-disposal
impoundment in the country was strenuous and thorough, involving
citizens who provided numerous comments, DEP staff and
FirstEnergy,” said Mike Forbeck, waste mangement program manager
for DEP's Southwest Region.
FirstEnergy spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said the company has not
received a copy of the closure permit as of Thursday afternoon,
“but we have been in touch with DEP about the terms and
“FirstEnergy is committed to closing the facility in a safe and
sound manner in compliance with the DEP permit,” Walton said.
Lisa Graves-Marcucci, a Pennsylvania representative for the
Washington-based Environmental Integrity Project, declined to
comment, saying that she hasn't seen details of the closure
Her group, along with the local Little Blue Regional Action Group
and Washington-based public interest group Public Justice,
threatened in 2012 to sue FirstEnergy over what they viewed as
unsafe safety measures and conditions at the dump. Last year, the
Enviromental Integrity Project called for FirstEnergy to close the
dump by Dec. 31, 2020.
Last summer, FirstEnergy officials told community residents at a
public meeting that the company intended to cover the slurry in
65-acre segments each year. DEP wants the work done faster, with
the company placing an impenetrable plastic liner over the waste;
a cloth layer over the liner; and one foot of soil and vegetative
cover over the cloth.
DEP said that FirstEnergy has posted a financial assurance bond of
more than $169 million — the largest ever required by the state
for a waste management facility — to ensure that all work is done
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5883493-74/firstenergy-waste-dep#ixzz2xu0OdDEm