FirstEnergy revises plan for waste at Mansfield plant
FirstEnergy Corp. plans changes at its coal-fired Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport that would convert coal fly ash waste into material for a mine reclamation project in LaBelle, Fayette County, starting in 2017.
The company said it would build a “dewatering facility” on the plant grounds, starting around 2014, instead of moving forward with a controversial plan to expand its Little Blue Run coal waste slurry impoundment in nearby Greene Township.
A recent consent decree with the state Department of Environmental Protection requires the Akron-based company to stop disposing of “wet” byproduct material from the Mansfield plant at the 1,700-acre Little Blue Run site in Beaver County after Dec. 31, 2016.
FirstEnergy said it told the Army Corps of Engineers that it would withdraw permit applications seeking to expand the impoundment.
The DEP said Wednesday it is reviewing FirstEnergy's plan.
“While First Energy will no longer have to obtain waste management permits and clean water permits for the processing of the fly ash on site,” spokesman John Poister said, the company would need a permit to use the material and a mining permit for its new plan.
In December, U.S. District Court Judge Nora Barry Fischer approved an agreement between DEP and FirstEnergy to close the impoundment because it contaminated surrounding groundwater.
The agreement requires FirstEnergy to replace water supplies for nearby homes, set up water and air monitoring, and pay an $800,000 fine for violating the state's solid waste management law. The impoundment was built 38 years ago, before regulations required a liner to block arsenic and other contaminants from leaching into groundwater.
Under the new plan, dry material bound for the LaBelle site likely would go by barge along the Ohio and Monongahela rivers, FirstEnergy said. The National Gypsum Plant, next to the power plant, uses about 450,000 tons of Mansfield's byproducts each year to make wallboard.
Kim Leonard is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.