Federal judge OKs agreement with FirstEnergy to close waste impoundment

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A federal judge today approved a consent decree between the state Department of Environmental Protection and FirstEnergy Generation Corp. to close the Little Blue Run waste impoundment that spans the border of Beaver County's Greene Township and Hancock County, West Virginia.

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

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

The company must also 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 such slurry pits didn't have 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 has said in the complaint that led to the consent decree.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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