EPA News: West Penn Power to pay $610,00 penalty in over discharge violations at coal ash landfills


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West Penn Power to pay $610,00 penalty in Federal-State settlement
over discharge violations at coal ash landfills

PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 12, 2022) – West Penn Power of Greensburg, Pennsylvania will pay a $610,000 penalty under a settlement to resolve water discharge violations at two coal ash impoundment landfills in southwestern Pennsylvania, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) announced today.

"This settlement reaffirms that compliance with the Clean Water Act is an ongoing obligation for all industrial polluters who must ensure that their operations do not cause harm to public health and our nation's waterways," said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz.  "We are pleased to have partnered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to ensure the continued protection of Pennsylvania's rivers and public health."

According to the settlement, West Penn Power exceeded boron limits in discharges from the Mingo Landfill in Union Township, Washington County, and Springdale Landfill in Frazer Township, Allegheny County.

Along with the penalty, the consent decree with EPA and PADEP requires West Penn Power to construct new gravity pipelines to new outfall locations in a new receiving waters for each landfill (Peters Creek for the Mingo pipeline and the Allegheny River for the Springdale pipeline).  West Penn will also be required to collect data on instream boron levels in Peters Creek.

The settlement addresses alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law that threaten to degrade receiving streams, impact public health, and harm aquatic life.

PADEP assisted EPA in the investigation and litigation and is a co-plaintiff.  Penalty funds will be distributed evenly between the United States and PADEP.

Yesterday, EPA announced the agency will take several actions to protect communities and hold facilities accountable for controlling and cleaning up the contamination created by decades of coal ash disposal: EPA Takes Key Steps to Protect Groundwater from Coal Ash Contamination

More information on the Clean Water Act is available at: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act

More information on Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law is available at: https://www.dep.pa.gov/Citizens/My-Water/Pages/default.aspx

The proposed consent decree, filed in the federal district court in Pittsburgh, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the court.


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