Pa., W.Va. landowners sue FirstEnergy over groundwater pollution

Associated Press


More than 50 West Virginia and Pennsylvania property owners are suing FirstEnergy over groundwater pollution, soggy yards and foundation damage they blame on a leaking coal ash impoundment and the 7-mile waste pipeline that feeds it.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wheeling accuses the Ohio-based power company of negligence, reckless conduct, trespass and creating a nuisance. The plaintiffs demand unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

FirstEnergy had not formally received the complaint as of Monday afternoon, spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said in an email, but a closure plan for the unlined 1,700-acre Little Blue Run impoundment is under review by Pennsylvania regulators.

The planning and design work for a gradual shutdown of the facility straddling Beaver County, Pa., and Hancock County, W.Va., already is underway, she said.

The pit takes waste from the coal-fired Bruce Mansfield power plant in Shippingport, Pa., which is run by subsidiary First-Energy Solutions Corp. The complaint says the pit holds more than 20 billion gallons of slurry, a soupy mix of combustion waste products.

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