FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) has announced that it currently plans to provide scrubber material and coal combustion byproducts (CCBs) from its Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Pa., for beneficial use at a coal mine reclamation project in La Belle, Pa., beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Until then, the scrubber material from the Bruce Mansfield Plant will continue to be safely stored at Little Blue Run, a permitted residual waste impoundment located in Greene Township, Pa., that has been in use since the early 1970s.
FirstEnergy has negotiated an agreement with Matt Canestrale Contracting, Inc., that ultimately will result in CCBs from the Bruce Mansfield Plant being used at a mine reclamation project in La Belle, Pa. As part of the project, the CCBs are required to be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for beneficial use. Subject to DEP approval, the CCBs are expected to be transported by barge along the Ohio and Monongahela rivers from Shippingport to La Belle, Pa. Currently, CCBs produced by FirstEnergy's Mitchell Power Station are beneficially used at the La Belle mine reclamation site.
As part of this project, a new dewatering facility is expected to be constructed on the grounds of the Bruce Mansfield Plant to convert CCBs from a wet to a dry consistency. Design engineering for the dewatering facility is under way and construction is expected to begin in the 2014-2015 timeframe.
The decision follows a recent Consent Decree between FirstEnergy Generation, LLC and the DEP that requires the company to discontinue disposal of wet CCB material at Little Blue Run after December 31, 2016.
"After conducting a detailed review of future disposal options beyond Little Blue Run, the decision was made to beneficially use this CCB material for an existing mine reclamation project," said James Lash, president, FirstEnergy Generation. "This was an economic decision based on the costs of barging the material to a third-party site compared to permitting and constructing an expanded disposal facility near the existing Little Blue Run impoundment."
Approximately 450,000 tons per year of CCB materials from the Bruce Mansfield Plant are expected to continue to be converted to synthetic gypsum and sent across the street to the National Gypsum Plant for use in the manufacture of wallboard. Since 2000, more than five million tons of this material has been recycled as wallboard. In addition, the company continues to seek other opportunities for its CCB material.
FirstEnergy also has informed the DEP and Army Corps of Engineers that it will formally withdraw previously submitted permit applications seeking to expand Little Blue Run by constructing a new, state-of-the-art dry CCB disposal facility in Greene Township adjacent to the existing impoundment.
FirstEnergy will continue to monitor and maintain the existing Little Blue Run site in an environmentally responsible manner and in compliance with all permit requirements even after disposal of wet CCB material ceases. As part of the Consent Decree, the company will submit a formal Little Blue Run closure plan to DEP no later than March 31, 2013. It will provide details regarding future plans for the facility, including a study regarding potential future ground water impacts in and around the facility. The closure plan is expected to incorporate the extensive groundwater monitoring program that is currently in place at Little Blue Run.
Rated at 2,490 megawatts (MW), the Bruce Mansfield Plant is the largest generating station in Pennsylvania, capable of producing enough electricity to power about 1.5 million homes. It also is one of the most highly controlled facilities in the country, utilizing scrubbers, Selective Catalytic Reduction technology and other advanced environmental equipment to help produce electricity in an environmentally responsible manner.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
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