PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

PaintSquare


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


PA Orders Vast Impoundment Closed

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

The largest coal ash impoundment in the United States is officially on borrowed time.

On Thursday (April 3), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it had issued a Closure Permit to FirstEnergy Generation LLC, that imposes a mandatory closure plan for the Little Blue Run Impoundment. 

Little Blue Run
Sierra Club

The largest impoundment in the U.S., Little Blue Run has been filling with hundreds of tons of coal-ash waste since 1975. Federal regulators have deemed the impoundment dam a "high hazard" structure.

The plan will close, cap and mostly contain the largest unlined coal ash pond in the United States. DEP ordered the work completed by Dec. 31, 2028—three years earlier than FirstEnergy had proposed.

1,700-Acre Disposal Facility

The 1,700-acre impoundment, which spans two states (Pennsylvania and West Virginia) and borders a third, has served since 1975 as a disposal facility for coal combustion byproducts (CCBs) produced by the Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, PA.

The southwestern Pennsylvania power plant is the largest in the state and one of the largest in the United States, producing power for more than 1.5 million homes.

The waste stored at Little Blue Run, along the Ohio River, is about 60 percent lime-based scrubber agents and 40 percent blue-tinted coal ash. The impoundment is bordered by a 420-foot-high earth and rock fill dam, and the waste is pumped through a seven-mile-long pipeline system.

Little Blue Run
NASA

Little Blue Run is located near the Ohio River on both sides of the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border.

For the first 30 years, the CCBs were deposited below water. That changed in 2006, and capacity peaked at 135,430,000 cubic yards of material.

In a report in 2010, the Sierra Club, EarthJustice, and the Environmental Integrity Project documented how arsenic, cadmium, and lead were higher than permitted in drinking water around the massive dumpsite. The Center for Public Integrity has reported complaints of illness and drinking water contamination by nearby residents.

Consent Decree

DEP's closure order follows a December 2012 Consent Decree with FirstEnergy that set Dec. 31, 2016, as the last date that wet scrubber material could be dumped in the impoundment.

The agreement required FirstEnergy to provide a detailed plan for monitoring, sampling and abating any offsite seeping of arsenic and other contaminants in groundwater and soil. It also required that FirstEnergy look into minimizing the size of the impoundment's permanent pool and installing and maintaining a liner between the waste and the stormwater.

Bruce Mansfield Electric Power Plant
FirstEnergy Generation

Coal waste from the Bruce Mansfield power plant is carried to Little Blue Run via a seven-mile pipeline.

FirstEnergy submitted a 3,198-page Closure Plan in March 2013. That proposal laid out a 15-year plan that included:

  • Covering about 950 acres of waste with a synthetic liner;
  • Topping the cover with a foot of topsoil and seed to create a vegetation cover;
  • Reducing the 214-acre pool to 100 acres; and
  • "Extensive monitoring" throughout and after the closure.

State Changes

DEP's Closure Permit accelerates the overall closure timeline and specifies additional measures, including:

  • Increasing the groundwater and surface water monitoring points from 74 monitoring points to more than 300;
  • A cushion geotextile layer over the geomembrane liner;
  • Implementing controls for noise, odors and particulate emissions;
  • Conducting quarterly seep reconnaissance and instituting corrective actions when contaminated seeps are found; and
  • Pursuing groundwater remediation measures and conducting post-closure monitoring and maintenance "for as long as environmental problems remain at the site."

DEP also required, and FirstEnergy has posted, a bond of more than $169 million to cover the work. The agency said the bond was the largest ever for a waste management facility in the state.

'Strenuous and Thorough'

“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 Management Program Manager for DEP’s Southwest Region.

   

Tagged categories: Coal ash; Coal Combustion Residuals; Environmental Protection; Hazardous waste; Power Plants

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Clemco Industries Corp.
 
Maximum Dust Suppression Systems Start at $14,950
 
The system comprises proven technology and equipment with user-friendly flexibility in mind. See it in action.
 

 
Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
 
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
 
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.
IndustrialVacuum.com
 

 
Detail Masters
 
Overspray Removal
 
We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.
 

 
Bullard
 
Upgrade with the Bullard GenVX
 
Click here to learn how you can get a GenVX Helmet and Win.
 

 
Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
 
Blastox® - One Step Lead Abatement
 
Sandblast additive delivered to jobsite pre-blended to eliminate hazardous abrasive wastes. Why mix, meter or apply at the job-site? Blast with ease and
Let your painters paint!
1(800)-252-7869
 

 
Polygon
 
POLYGON - Temporary Humidity Control
 
We specialize in innovative climate control solutions for industrial painting, utilizing alternative energy sources and combining desiccants with heating or cooling.
 

 
DeFelsko Corporation
 
PosiTector SHD Shore Hardness Durometer
 
PosiTector SHD measures the hardness of non-metallic materials. Features a measurement timer, auto ignore mode and internal memory. Shore A or D available.
 

 
Safway Services
 
Your Access Advantage. QUIKDECK®
 
Provides safe, factory-floor-like working conditions. Can be engineered to fit almost any shape, structure or size. Modular platform easily assembled from just a few basic components. Excellent containment. Applications include vessels, offshore rigs and bridges.
 

 
Strategic Materials Inc.
 
Coming April 2017
 
Available April 2017. TruAbrasives™, a clean crushed glass abrasive superior to other abrasives for performance, health, and environmental benefits.
 

 
SEMicro Division, M.E. Taylor Engineering, Inc.
 
Coatings Adhesion Testers
 
The PATTI® accurately measures the bond strength between coating & substrate. Outfitted properly, the surface can be rough, porous, or curved & >10K psi strong!
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us