FirstEnergy Corp. agrees to close waste site by 2016

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A federal judge Monday approved a consent decree between the state Department of Environmental Protection and FirstEnergy Generation Corp. to close the Little Blue Run waste impoundment along the border of Beaver County and Hancock County, W.Va.

Under the pact signed by U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer, FirstEnergy must submit by March 31 a plan to close the impoundment in Greene Township, Beaver County, and stop piping waste into it by the end of 2016.

The company must monitor air quality and stop seepage of a host of pollutants and metals into waterways in the area. It also must restore or replace water supplies to any nearby property where well water becomes contaminated.

The company also must pay an $800,000 civil penalty, plus potential additional penalties for any future violations.

The 1,700-acre Little Blue Run was built in 1974, when slurry pits weren't required to have linings. Since then, it has received a steady flow of slurry from the Bruce Mansfield power plant through an underground pipeline.

Calcium, sulfates, chlorides and arsenic have been found in groundwater near the site, the DEP said in the complaint that led to the consent decree.

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