We all have knowingly assumed the risks associated with living near a nuclear power plant, but we have not knowingly assumed the risks of living next to a coal-power plant.
What I am talking about is First Energy's Little Blue Run Residual Waste Disposal Impoundment. The structure that is holding this impoundment together is one of the country's largest earthen dams. This dam is plainly visible from the Ohio side if you would take care to notice.
Little Blue is one of the country's largest unlined containment lakes. According to First Energy's own correspondence, Little Blue contains fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, flue gas emission control residuals, coal pile runoff, and boiler cleaning materials solely from the Bruce Mansfield Power Station. If this dam were to break, the results are estimated to be up to 50,000 casualties, the Ohio River becomes toxic, and there will be countless injuries and severe health problems. According to the Pennsylvania Code of Dam Safety and Waterway Management, the dam has a Size Classification of Class A (impoundment storage equal to or greater than 50,000 acre feet) and a Hazard Potential Classification of 1 (substantial loss of life and excessive economic loss). This is the reality we live with every day.
The fact that Little Blue impoundment is unlined, the toxins admittedly contained in Little Blue are seeping into the ground water and the size and weight of the impoundment has significantly altered the landscape of many properties owned by citizens in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Many of us are having our water monitored and tested monthly searching for higher concentrations of mercury, zinc, lead, arsenic and selenium to name a few.
Many of us in the Lawrenceville area have seeps (the legal term is illegal discharge) on our property. First Energy is now attempting to correct the seepage on a broader basis by installing collection stations throughout the area to pump this illegal discharge back into Little Blue. None of us involved are sure how this corrects the problem.
This disposal site affects all of us, affects our health, our property, our property values, our livelihood, our children and our grandchildren. The Little Blue disposal site is the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi and listed on the EPA's top 44 High Hazard Dams. Is this the kind of commerce we wish to expand? I believe that in today's world we all would like to develop areas that create jobs, create wealth, create higher property values, and create new revenue for our municipalities. We do not need to expand Little Blue and create more despair, more ill health, and more hazardous chemicals in our ground water and lose more good citizens to other states that don't have these issues.
Please support our efforts to stop the expansion of Little Blue and make this a safer and healthier area for our children and grandchildren.
Sharon K Fineman
Core Member of Citizens
Against Coal Ash