Pa. Court Upholds Fine in Fly Ash Spill
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently settled in Commonwealth Court with PPL Martins Creek LLC for a fly ash spill at its Lower Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County electric generating station. The settlement includes a $1.5 million civil penalty.
In addition to the civil penalty, the settlement addresses the company's continued spill assessment and cleanup responsibilities should any remaining ash deposits be discovered.
The settlement resolves the department's lawsuit that was filed in November 2005 following a failure in one of the utility's ash basins on Aug. 23, 2005. Because of the failure, approximately 100 million gallons of fly ash were discharged to the Delaware River.
The state agency required PPL immediately to conduct a major cleanup operation, which was done under the department's supervision over the next several months.
The state also initiated a Natural Resource Damage Assessment process to assess short-, medium- and long-term impacts of the spill on the river and its ecosystems. The assessment team includes representatives of state and federal agencies and is still evaluating water quality, biological, and ecological impacts to the river.