Included on the EPA’s August 2009 list of thirty coal-ash ponds with High Hazard Potential Ratings was Little Blue Run Dam at the Bruce Mansfield power plant in Shippingport, Beaver County. Known as fly ash ponds and more formally as Coal Combustion Residue (CCRs) – Surface Impondments, coal-ash ponds came to the fore when a TVA coal ash pond dam broke in Kingston, Tennessee in December 2008. Local action has now stalled expansion of a coal-ash pond in Beaver County.
Ranked 16th in the nation in 2007 for its emission of 17,387,361 tons of CO2, the Bruce Mansfield power plant is a huge source of coal ash, and that toxic coal ash has to be stored somewhere. At present all the coal ash is stored in the Little Blue Run Pond near the plant. But the owners of the 1975 plant, First Energy Generation of Akron, claim that the impondment is getting full, and they need a new pond.
Responding to citizen outrage, on March 1 the Supervisors of the small community of Greene Township denied First Energy’s request to re-zone 1,000 acres in the township for additional coal ash disposal. The Little Blue Ash Pond already occupies 18% of the entire township.
For more on the broader question of what is being done about coal ash impondments, see a detailed article titled “Coal’s Toxic Sludge” in Rolling Stone magazine. The writer is Jeff Goodell, author of the book “Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future”.