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    Up in smoke: Cooling towers demolished at former power plant in Greene County

    June 9, 2023 - MARK HOFMANN


      The second of three major demolitions at FirstEnergy Corp.'s shuttered Hatfield's Ferry Power Station in Monongahela Township brought down two cooling towers in mere seconds.

      On Thursday, the two towers fell by near simultaneous blasts at their bases, leaving nothing but a cloud of smoke where they once stood. The demolition took a matter of a few seconds.

      "The design was for it to fall down almost on its own footprint, and it seemed like that's what happened," said Todd Meyers, spokesman for FirstEnergy Corp.

      The company, which owns the 236-acre site of the former Greene County power plant that borders Masontown in Fayette County, held its first demolition in March, bringing down three smokestacks with a controlled implosion. Thursday's implosion brought down a 500-foot cooling tower that stood next to a boiler house as well as a second cooling tower that stood 550 feet tall.

      The blasts at the base of the towers were followed by a third blast inside the boiler house that was set off to fracture the concrete structure that supported the deck where the generating turbines were located. Meyers said the final blast was to make it easier for crews to pick away the hefty concrete in the boiler house, which is scheduled for demolition sometime in the fall.

      "By this time next year, we'll have a grassy area, a few roads and the only things left will be a large transmission substation and water intake structure along the [Monongahela] River," he said.

      After the demolition projects are completed, and the area is cleaned up, Meyers said the site will have features that can be used for energy-intensive and water-intensive industries.

      "And that will make this property attractive to developers," he said.

      FirstEnergy subsidiaries will continue to own and maintain the site as an open grassy area until a use is identified.

      North American Dismantling Corporation (NADC), the primary demolition contractor, started work at the plant last year, removing smaller structures and ductwork with steel and other metals hauled from for recycling. Power-generation turbines and other equipment are in the process of being removed from the boiler house and other buildings for reclamation.

      First Energy officials said the demolition of the plant, which closed in 2013, will also help eliminate a public safety risk as break-ins and thefts have occurred there, and trespassing could result in serious injury or death.

      All demolition activities should be completed in early 2024.


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