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FirstEnergy must close Pennsylvania coal waste dump that's polluting groundwater by 2028

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HOOKSTOWN, Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says FirstEnergy Corp. must close a coal-waste dump along the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border by 2028, three years sooner than the utility proposed, but years later than environmentalists hoped.

Akron-based First Energy pumps the waste, known as slurry, through underground pipes from its Bruce Mansfield power plant in Shippingport, Beaver County.

Akron-based FirstEnergy last year announced it will begin shipping the slurry by barge to a mine reclamation project in LaBelle, Fayette County, starting in 2017.

The DEP forced the change because the Little Blue Run dump isn't lined to prevent the slurry from contaminating ground water. Pollution laws didn't require the lining when the dump opened in 1974.

The dump must be encapsulated then covered by 2028, after FirstEnergy stops pumping the waste to the dump.

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