Share This Page

Little Blue Run ash reservoir in Greene Township called hazard

The Little Blue Run coal ash storage reservoir in Beaver County was identified Monday by federal officials as one of the 44 most hazardous in the nation, not because of any defects but because it is near where people live.

Beaver County is the only community in Pennsylvania that is identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a place where residents are potentially threatened by coal ash storage ponds similar to one that flooded a neighborhood in Tennessee last year.

Little Blue Run, located along the Ohio River in Greene Township, stores coal combustion waste from FirstEnergy Corp.'s Bruce Mansfield power plant in Shippingport, seven miles away.

"A high hazard potential rating indicates that a failure will probably cause a loss of human life," according to the EPA. "The rating is not an indication of the structural integrity of the unit or the possibility that a failure will occur in the future."

FirstEnergy spokesman Mark Durbin said there are no residents between the dam and the Ohio River.

"It's a large facility; that's why it's on the list, but in our minds it's very safe," Durbin said, explaining that FirstEnergy has the site inspected twice a year. He said it is inspected by the state Department of Environmental Protection every year.

No problems were found in the latest state inspection on Jan. 21, Durbin said. DEP officials could not be reached for comment.

Two days before Christmas, a coal ash pond broke near Kingston, Tenn., sending 5 million cubic yards of ash and sludge across more than 300 acres.

Durbin said "Little Blue," one of the largest coal ash reservoirs in the East, was built with 9 million cubic yards of rock fill, making it much stronger than the Tennessee Valley Authority facility near Kingston. He said the coal ash at Little Blue is more solid and less liquid than that stored near Kingston.

Other reservoirs on the EPA list are located in Cheshire, Brilliant, and Waterford, Ohio, and St. Albans and Moundsville, W.Va.

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.