BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) – More than a hundred concerned citizens packed the Hookstown fire hall in Beaver County to hear plans by First Energy to close a coal waste disposal site.
The 900-acre lagoon called “little blue run” had been receiving coal waste from the Bruce Mansfield power plant in Shippingport for years.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection got a federal consent decree ordering First Energy to stop dumping at the site and clean up the environment.
“We’re imploring them to close it, cap it, and basically to stop ground water pollution you have to stop the source,” a DEP spokesman told KDKA’s Bob Allen.
A spokesman for the DEP says ground water contamination was discovered at monitoring wells.
People who live near the site say their well water has been contaminated for years.
They also blame a rise in cancer and other diseases.
One resident saying, “there’s been so many health issues, there’s an increase in cancer. I’ve had a daughter who’s had three cancers, and myself.”
First Energy plans to stop dumping waste at the site by 2016 and begin cleaning up the contamination, but that process is expected to last 15-years.
Stephanie Thornton with First Energy says, “we have an aggressive monitoring program in place that will continue into the future.”
Residents says they want the cleanup to being sooner, and they want to be sure that the DEP and utility will continue to monitor groundwater.