HOOKSTOWN (KDKA) — From the air it might look like an inviting lake, but Little Blue Run is filled with fly ash and calcium sulfate trapped at FirstEnergy’s Bruce Manfield Plant seven miles away.

It’s pumped into the three-square mile Little Blue Lagoon, and residents who live nearby say the chemicals and heavy metals have impacted their lives and their health.

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“There have been a lot of people who have had cancer,” says Marcia Hughes, of Greene Township. “There have been skin issues, respiratory issues.”

Under orders from the state, Little Blue must stop accepting waste in 2016, but environmentalists believe the shutdown plan is insufficient.

“We worry that the clean-up plan proposed by FirstEnergy does not do enough to protect human health and the water resources this community depends upon,” said Lisa Marcucci, an environmentalist.

The state now agrees.

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The Department of Environmental Protection has cited more than 160 deficiencies in FirstEnergy’s plan.

Most importantly, it found the prescribed efforts to contain and abate the contamination of groundwater to be inadequate. And the DEP rejects FirstEnergy’s plan to cap the lagoon with a one-foot layer of soil.

FirstEnergy responded to KDKA’s Andy Sheehan’s requests with this statement:
“FirstEnergy is committed to closing and monitoring Little Blue Run in a safe and environmentally-responsible manner. We have received DEP’s initial feedback on the Little Blue Run closure plan and are currently reviewing it. DEP has requested additional data, which the company will provide. We look forward to working with DEP to finalize plans for closure of the facility.”

FirstEnergy will now have 60 days to fix the deficiency. If it doesn’t meet that deadline, the company could face fines from the DEP.

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RELATED LINKS:
Beaver County Residents Concerned Over Well Water Contamination (8/15/13)
First Energy Ordered To Shut Down Little Blue Run (8/1/12)
More Reports on Little Blue
More Reports by Andy Sheehan