Vectren Files Pond Cleanup Plan; Wants Customers to Pay

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The Sierra Club is questioning emission limits set on Vectren's A.B. Brown plant. The Sierra Club is questioning emission limits set on Vectren's A.B. Brown plant.

Evansville-based utility Vectren has finalized its plans to remove years’ worth of coal ash from an unlined holding pond, at the company’s A.B. Brown coal-burning power plant in Posey County. The company also wants its customers to help pay for the project.

On Wednesday, Vectren filed an application with the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission to recover the costs associated with the remediation project. The Evansville Courier & Press reports the estimated cost of the cleanup is $164 million.

The utility company says the six million tons of waste will be excavated and recycled as part of a federally mandated Coal Combustion Residuals rule, a set of requirements for the safe disposal of CCRs, such as coal ash.

“This partnership with the manufacturer is an ideal solution – the material is removed from the environment, it will be used for beneficial purposes, and the cost to customers will be less than other viable compliance options” said Lynnae Wilson, chief business officer, Indiana Electric.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates coal ash disposal, says when the waste is stored without proper protection, contaminants can leach into groundwater.

Vectren officials say the company will soon begin construction of the infrastructure needed to transport the coal ash to the Ohio River which will then be shipped to a recycling company. Vectren says since 2009 it has shipped recovered dry ash from three of its coal-burning plants for use as raw material in cement manufacturing.

“Vectren’s decision to recycle the ponded coal ash reduces the impact on the environment and allows for the safe clean closure of the A.B. Brown coal ash pond,” said Wilson

If approved by IURC, Vectren says it plans to start excavation of the pond and shipment of the coal ash by 2021.

In April, the IURC rejected a Vectren subsidiary's proposal to build an 850-MW combined-cycle natural gas-fired facility in Posey County to replace generation capacity from three coal-fired power plants.

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