Environmental Protection

AEP to Test Stability of Ash Impoundment

As part of an ongoing comprehensive review of dam integrity of coal ash impoundment sites nationwide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has alerted public officials and first responders that an impoundment at American Electric Power's (AEP) Philip Sporn facility requires additional safety testing.

While EPA does not believe the impoundment's dam is at immediate risk of failure given current information, it has notified West Virginia and Ohio officials of the need for further testing to fully determine the impoundment's integrity. AEP has committed to submitting a plan to carry out the safety tests. That plan will be provided to EPA on Nov. 2. The agency will oversee the testing and use all necessary authority to ensure the safety of the facility.

EPA contractors said the AEP Philip Sporn facility pile coal ash and bottom ash around the impoundment to raise the impoundment's walls. To ensure the impoundment's stability, EPA is requiring AEP to conduct a liquefaction test to determine foundation stability and a slope stability test to determine if the embankment will fail under certain pressures.

The assessment of AEP's Philip Sporn facility was conducted as part of the agency's nationwide assessment of surface impoundments at electric utilities following the coal ash release at Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston, Tenn. facility. To date, EPA has completed reports on assessments of 22 facilities.

Members of the public who are seeking additional information should call 800.438.2474.

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