Court upholds Penn. DEP's $1.5M fine against PPL

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced a settlement in Commonwealth Court with PPL Martins Creek LLC that includes a $1.5 million civil penalty against the company for a fly ash spill at its Lower Mt. Bethel Township, Northampton County, electric generating station in 2005. 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...

WILKES-BARRE, PA, May 20, 2008 -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced a settlement in Commonwealth Court with PPL Martins Creek LLC that includes a $1.5 million civil penalty against the company for a fly ash spill at its Lower Mt. Bethel Township, Northampton County, electric generating station in 2005.

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 Commonwealth Court 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.

DEP required PPL immediately to conduct a major cleanup operation, which was done under the department's supervision over the next several months.

DEP also initiated a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process to assess short-, medium- and long-term impacts of the spill on the river and its ecosystems. The NRDA team includes representatives of state and federal agencies and is still evaluating water quality, biological and ecological impacts to the river as a result of the spill.

The settlement approved by Commonwealth Court allows for a 120-day comment period on the final NRDA report for the citizens' group that intervened in DEP's lawsuit.

The agency had previously accepted comments on the then-proposed settlement for a 60-day period in March 2007.

For further information on the spill, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, scroll down the left side to the state map and click on "Northeast Region."


Also see:
-- "New buoy to help beach visitors, scientists monitor Lake Erie water quality, weather conditions"

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