Share This Page

FirstEnergy revises plan for waste at Mansfield plant

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

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 kleonard@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.