LG&E Fined for Coal Ash Violations at Cane Run…Again

Louisville Gas and Electric has been fined once again by the Air Pollution Control District for coal ash violations at the Cane Run Power Plant in Southwest Louisville, and the district cites scientific testing that shows coal ash is leaving the company’s property.

In the Notice of Violation (NOV) issued yesterday, the district proposes a fine of $5,000, but says it could assess additional penalties after the company demonstrates compliance or agrees to a compliance schedule.

The Air Pollution Control District alleges coal ash left the Cane Run plant numerous times between February 2012 and February 2013. The violations rely on visual evidence (including videos shot by the plant’s neighbors), but the APCD also included the results of scientific tests that offer proof that coal ash was leaving the plant’s site. Compliance officers conducted dust sampling on homes and took ambient air samples, and both the APCD and LG&E analyzed the data. The results confirm the presence of fly ash outside the company’s property.

From the report:

Three sample sets were collected before the homes were power washed in spring 2012, and eight sample sets were collected after the homes were power washed. During sample analysis, fly ash particles were identified in amounts equal to or greater than 15% in all but one sample set (which contained 13% fly ash). The three sample sets collected before power washing contained an average of 26% fly ash, and the eight sample sets collected after power washing contained an average of 20% fly ash.

Additionally the ambient air samplers commissioned by LG&E detected up to 19% fly ash at off-property locations during approximately the same period of time.

LG&E spokesman Brian Phillips says the company is still reviewing the document and the alleged violations. “We will respond to [the APCD] by their deadline, and remain committed to working cooperatively with the District to meet current and future regulatory requirements,” he wrote in an email.

This is only the latest in a string of NOVs the Air Pollution Control District has issued to LG&E. The company was fined $26,000 in November, 2011 for similar violations, but eventually settled for less. The last Notice of Violation was issued in July, and proposed a fine of $24,000 for several times coal ash allegedly left the company’s property. LG&E settled two of those eight violations last month for $10,500, but there are still six outstanding violations. If an agreement can’t be reached, LG&E and the APCD could seek to resolve the matter in an administrative hearing.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL.

@ericampeterson

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