Record Coal Ash Penalty

DEP, Talen Energy, and Environmental Integrity Project Reach Settlement for Violations at Brunner Island

Harrisburg, PA (7/31/2019) – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced a settlement with Talen Energy Corporation and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). Under terms of the Consent Decree, Talen Energy agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1 million, the largest coal ash penalty in Pennsylvania history, for violations of groundwater degradation and NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) effluent violations at Talen’s Brunner Island Steam Electric Station.

“We are confident that the work to be performed as spelled out in this Consent Decree will be for the betterment of all involved — the environment and area residents,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

Talen Energy owns and operates the 1,490-Megawatt Brunner Island Steam Electric Station, a coal- and natural gas-fired electric generating facility located in East Manchester Township, York County. EIP represents the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and PennEnvironment.

Brunner Island’s operation generated residual wastes, including fly ash and bottom ash, byproducts resulting from the combustion of coal. Talen disposed of the residual waste in seven unlined waste impoundments and one lined landfill disposal area. Contaminants from those impoundments have been leaking into groundwater around the facility.

Under terms of this Consent Decree, Talen will inspect, monitor, and remediate any potential seeps from the impoundments and disposal area with the intention to improve groundwater conditions around the facility.

The Consent Decree also settles EIP’s appeal of Talen’s NPDES permit for discharges into the Susquehanna River. In addition, Talen agreed to pay $100,000 toward one or more qualifying Supplemental Environmental Projects implemented by the Watershed Alliance of York, to reduce or mitigate the effects of water pollution in the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed.

Notice of this Consent Decree will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, opening a public comment period. Comments should be addressed to the Office of Chief Counsel, Department of Environmental Protection, Southcentral Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110, and should refer to the Brunner Island Consent Decree. All comments must be submitted no later than 30 days after the publication date of the notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Once signed, the Consent Decree will be available on the DEP Southcentral Region’s Community Information page at https://www.dep.pa.gov/About/Regional/SouthcentralRegion/Community%20Information/Pages/Brunner-Island-NPDES.aspx

CONTACT: John Repetz, DEP 717-705-4904

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