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In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new rule addressing the handling, storage and disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCRs). CCRs are the materials that remain after coal is burned.
Three Amos Plant ash storage sites are included in the CCR monitoring program:
- The bottom ash pond,
- The FGD landfill and
- The fly ash pond.
The bottom ash pond and landfill are in active use. Amos Plant is making plans to close the bottom ash pond and move the material to a lined landfill. Amos Plant uses dry fly ash handling and no longer requires use of the fly ash pond. This pond has been capped and was closed at the end of 2017.
We strive to take advantage of opportunities to beneficially reuse as much CCR material as possible. For details, please see the AEP Corporate Accountability Report.
- Groundwater Monitoring Report & Statistical Analysis
Appalachian Power continues groundwater monitoring activities around Amos Plant’s coal ash storage sites. We analyze this data relative to EPA groundwater protection standards.
Analysis of this data by an independent third party indicates that these coal ash storage sites are not impacting groundwater quality.
We will continue groundwater monitoring at the Amos Plant and will provide an update if we detect any samples above the EPA standards.
- Coal Combustion Residuals Monitoring & Reporting
Appalachian Power (APCO) completed the first steps in the new groundwater monitoring program under this rule.
APCO took a series of groundwater samples at the boundaries of the ash storage sites. We took some samples before the groundwater passed beneath the ash storage sites. (The reports refer to this as up-gradient.) We took other samples after it passed beneath the sites (down-gradient). We used the data to establish baseline levels for 21 different substances in the groundwater. Moving forward, we will use these baselines to help determine if our ash storage sites are impacting the groundwater.
It is important to remember that variations in the level of these substances in groundwater are natural and occur for many reasons.
The initial data at Amos Plant showed potential groundwater impacts very close to our storage sites. Additional monitoring indicated that our ash storage sites are not impacting groundwater quality.
We proactively reached out and met with plant neighbors and community leaders to answer questions about the data collected so far and to discuss next steps.
The fly ash pond falls under the CCR rule, but has a different monitoring and compliance schedule. That is because it was added to the program at a later date. APCO has installed monitoring wells and is conducting baseline sampling at the fly ash pond.
- Alternate Source Reviews
An independent third party successfully completed an Alternate Source Demonstration for the FGD landfill at Amos Plant. The successful demonstration identifies other factors that could impact sampling results as the groundwater passes the CCR storage sites.
The plant will continue sampling groundwater at the landfill to determine any future need for additional monitoring.
This work has not yet been completed for the fly ash pond because it was brought into the program at a later date and is on a different monitoring and compliance schedule.
- Location Restrictions
The CCR rule established location restrictions for coal ash storage sites. It requires that storage site locations be evaluated regarding proximity to groundwater aquifers, wetlands, fault areas, seismic zones and unstable areas (example: presence of quicksand).
AEP and Appalachian Power recently completed the required review of location restrictions for Amos Plant’s CCR storage sites. This review found:
- The Amos bottom ash pond is separated from the uppermost aquifer by less than the five feet specified by the rule and
- The Amos coal ash storage sites meet all other location restrictions. The Amos fly ash pond is on a different compliance schedule and will be evaluated by April 2019. It has been closed.
- Next Steps
- APCO will continue to monitor groundwater at its coal ash storage sites twice each year.
- We will stop placing material in the bottom ash pond as soon as we have a storage alternative. We then will begin closure activities. If, in the future, we determine that any changes in groundwater quality are coming from a coal ash storage site, we will implement a site specific mitigation plan. This process will include the opportunity for public input.
- Bottom Ash Pond
- Fly Ash Pond
- John E. Amos Landfill