Maryland Ash Spill Not so Dramatic

Papermaker NewPage Corp., spilled about 4,000 gallons of coal ash sludge from a leaky pipeline but the incident did not appear to have done much harm, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of the Environment told the Associated Press.

A dime-sized hole in the 8-inch diameter, carbon-steel pipe probably was created by the abrasive mixture of ash and water moving through it. The company told the AP that it will improve its ash pipeline maintenance.

Dawn Stoltzfus, the MDE spokeswoman, told the AP the bulk of the sludge spilled onto the West Virginia side of the North Branch of the Potomac River across from NewPage's mill in Luke, about 210 miles upstream from Washington. Workers were expected to finish cleaning the stream bank on March 10.

Three 800-foot pipelines carry the ash to a 1.2 million-gallon storage lagoon across the river.

The article noted that EPA's call to review the nation's coal ash problem does not include non-utility power plants like NewPage.