Pennsylvania agency sets hearing on Mansfield coal waste site

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said Aug. 7 that it will hold an open house and public hearing on Aug. 15 to answer questions and accept testimony regarding closure of the Little Blue Run Impoundment in Beaver County.

FirstEnergy Generation LLC is proposing to revise its Solid Waste Management permit for the facility. The 976-acre Little Blue Run Impoundment is located south of the Ohio River on the Pennsylvania/West Virginia border and is used for the disposal of coal combustion waste from the Bruce Mansfield power plant.

Monitoring has revealed degradation of groundwater that can be attributed to the impoundment, the DEP said. As a result, FirstEnergy entered into a consent decree with DEP, which sets a deadline at the end of 2016 for the end of waste disposal at the impoundment. 

FirstEnergy has submitted an application that includes the required closure plan. The application was accepted by DEP for technical review on June 20.

Said the FirstEnergy website about this facility: “Currently, the [coal combustion byproducts] are stored at a residual waste disposal facility known as Little Blue Run in Greene Twp., Pa., that is permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In December 2012, a Consent Decree between FirstEnergy Generation Corp. and DEP was finalized, setting December 31, 2016, as the last date wet scrubber material can be placed in the Little Blue Run impoundment. In March 2013, as required by the Consent Decree, FirstEnergy Generation LLC submitted a proposed closure plan for Little Blue Run to DEP for its review.” 

The FirstEnergy plan includes installing synthetic materials referred to as a “liner” over 900 acres at the impoundment. The liner will help prevent storm water from coming into contact with the CCBs. A foot of topsoil will be placed over the liner and seeded to provide vegetation cover. It is anticipated that the overall closure plan will require 15 years to complete.

FirstEnergy said Jan. 22 that it plans to provide scrubber material and CCBs from Bruce Mansfield for beneficial use at a coal mine reclamation project in La Belle, Pa., beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Until then, the scrubber material from Bruce Mansfield will continue to be safely stored at Little Blue Run.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.