West Penn Power Settles Coal Ash Discharge Complaints With Environmental Agencies

January 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 landfills in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The settlement was announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

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.

The settlement was announced just two days after the two agencies filed suit against West Penn Power in federal court in Pittsburgh. The proposed consent decree is subject to approval by the court.

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.

Along with the penalty, the consent decree with federal and state agencies 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.

“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.

EPA said penalty funds will be distributed evenly between the U.S. and Pennsylvania.

West Penn Power is owned by FirstEnergy Corp.out of Akron, Ohio.

The settlement came just one day after the EPA began taking several actions to clean up the contamination created by decades of coal ash disposal. The agency put several facilities on notice regarding their obligations to comply with regulations and set forth plans for future regulatory actions.