Environment
6:13 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

'Gorilla Snot' and Dust Screens: LG&E Tries to Tame Coal Ash at Cane Run

Louisville Gas and Electric has spent about $1.75 million to control coal ash at the Cane Run Power Plant, but the company has been repeatedly fined for letting dust leave the site. The company says it has tried out eight separate measures and has implemented half of them.

LG&E’s most recent fine for coal ash violations at Cane Run was last month; the company was fined $5,000. But the Air Pollution Control District left open the possibility of additional penalties. LG&E had a deadline last week to lay out the measures taken to stop coal ash from leaving the company’s property.

In the document submitted to the District, LG&E says it’s installed a dust screen near the coal ash landfill, began spraying roads to control dust, used a temporary cover for inactive areas of the landfill and started applying a dust suppressant called “Gorilla Snot.” The company rejected four other measures, like using a dust control machine and hydro-mulching the landfill.

“At the time when we were having so many issues we felt like, let’s try whatever we can to see what makes the most sense,” LG&E spokeswoman Chris Whelan said. “As you can see, we tested a lot of different things. The watering is the big thing, the dust screen helps. And then there were other things that from a timing standpoint or redundancy just were really ineffective, so we just passed on those.

Whelan says the measures that have been implemented have made a difference.

“These different actions from a dust suppressant standpoint are helping,” she said. “They’re not perfect, but we’re doing what we can to make a good effort and move forward and be a better neighbor.”

But all of these measures were in place by May 2012; the alleged violations in the most recent citation happened after that, and residents still periodically report seeing coal ash leave the company’s property. Whelan says the company hasn’t met with the APCD yet to discuss those violations and work out a plan to move forward. The company has paid more than $36,000 in fines for similar violations in the past year and a half. There are several outstanding violations, some of which LG&E is contesting.