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Closure date of coal ash impoundment moved up in Chester

Updated: Monday, April 7 2014, 06:13 PM EDT

CHESTER, W.Va. -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a closure permit to FirstEnergy Generation’s Little Blue Run site in Chester.
It is requiring the coal ash impoundment to close by 2028, three years earlier than originally planned.
The site is more than 900 acres, covering parts of West Virginia and Pa.
Those neighboring the Little Blue Rite site all have the same concerns about how it affects their health.
On Monday, officials spoke about how this closing permit will make the environment safer in the end.
The plan requires FirstEnergy to complete all work associated with closing the site by Dec. 31, 2028 -- three years earlier than proposed by the company.
“What this means is that by that time, the site, which is currently a very, very large … will be drained and cleaned out,” said John Poister, spokesman for the Pa. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
“It will then be covered and sealed and it will become planted with vegitation.”
FirstEnergy must end disposal of waste into the impoundment by Dec. 31, 2016.
“We are committed to closing the facility in a safe, environmentally sound manner,” said Jennifer Young, communications for FirstEnergy Generation.
“Our original asked for 15, reviewing our plans to determine what modifications to meet the 12-year time frame."
Residents that neighbor the impoundment have been very vocal about their concerns.
“One of the key elements of this is that the citizens have been very concerned about this impoundment for quite a number of years,” Poister said.
After going around and talking to local residents, NEWS9 found out that a lot of the neighboring homes are actually vacant after being bought out, but the ones still living close by could not appear on camera because they are currently in a lawsuit with the company.
“We did do some testing around impoundment and we did discover there is an indication that the groundwater is being affected by the impoundment,” Poister said. “What we've done in this closure approval is set out specific measures to address the contamination,” Poister said.
The next step for FirstEnergy is figuring out how they are going to dispose of many years of coal combustion byproducts. Poister said the company will have to come to them with a proposal of how they will remove that material and where it will end up.

Closure date of coal ash impoundment moved up in Chester

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