Public hearing on DEP’s intent to issue a Clean Water Act NPDES permit for Bruce Mansfield Power Plant and Little Blue Run Impoundment WHEN: Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 6:00 PM (Doors at 5:30 PM) WHERE: South Side Area School District’s Middle/High School Auditorium located at 4949 PA State Route 151, Hookstown, PA 15050
Background on Plant
The Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant, owned by FirstEnergy, is a 2,700-megawatt plant in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh on the Ohio River in Beaver County. It is currently the largest coal plant in the state, and one of the largest remaining plants in the country. Bruce Mansfield began operating in 1976 and is equipped with air pollution scrubbers on all three of the plant’s generating units. The scrubber that serves units 1 and 2 was damaged in a January 2018 fire and is currently inoperable, meaning the plant is rarely running. In fact, this year, the plant is only running at about 16% of its capacity.
In 2017, Bruce Mansfield was responsible for releasing over 6 million pounds of nitrogen oxides (NOx), forming smog that causes asthma attacks, and over 19 million pounds of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes acid rain, breathing problems, and particulates in the air. The communities around the plant do not meet the federal health-based safeguards for smog and SO2, and Bruce Mansfield is the largest single source of both SO2 and NOx in the region, despite having significantly scaled back its operation in recent years.
For nearly 40 years, the plant piped much of its toxic coal waste into the Little Blue Run dump, seven miles from the plant. Little Blue was shut down in 2016 after pollution problems forced numerous residents to abandon their homes in the surrounding community and remediation efforts are expected to take decades.
Right now, the plant withdraws about 195 million gallons of water per day from the Ohio River and its Clean Water Act enforced National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, deciding what pollutants it can dump in the river, has been expired since December 2011. Currently, Bruce Mansfield discharges pollutants into the Ohio River.