FAIRMONT, W.V. -- As a part of their commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of operations, FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison have begun construction on two projects that will improve the wastewater treatment process at the companies' regulated power plants in West Virginia.
The environmental upgrades at Fort Martin Power Station in Maidsville, Monongalia County, and Harrison Power Station in Haywood, Harrison County, will help Mon Power and Potomac Edison continue to support clean drinking water, agriculture and recreation in local communities while also meeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's updated effluent limitation guideline requirements.
Currently, water from nearby streams is used to wash coal ash from the bottom of the plants' furnaces for disposal. When the projects are complete, the ash will instead be ground into smaller pieces and fall onto conveyor belts for removal. The new process will create less wastewater, which must undergo careful treatment before it can be safely discharged back into the river to ensure the protection of aquatic ecosystems.
"Moving the ash in a mechanical manner will reduce the amount of water that touches ash and then therefore needs to be processed at each plant," said Adam Hoalcraft, a consulting engineer at Harrison Power Station. "The project aligns with FirstEnergy's mission to protect and preserve the natural environment and to promote a sustainable future for the customers and communities we serve."
The upgrades include construction of conveyor belts that will transport coal ash to a new three-sided concrete structure on each plant's grounds. From there, the dry ash will be loaded into trucks to be taken to the companies' existing licensed disposal site nearby. The companies plan to finish the projects by the end of 2025.
The Public Service Commission of West Virginia approved the projects in 2022 as part of a $142 million, multi-year environmental compliance program. The cost of the improvements is to be funded through a customer surcharge that will begin next year when the first project is completed.
The upgrades support the continued operation of Fort Martin and Harrison until their anticipated retirement dates of 2035 and 2040, respectively. The two plants generate 3,080 megawatts of power combined.
Mon Power serves about 395,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. Follow Mon Power at mon-power.com, on Twitter @MonPowerWV, and on Facebook at facebook.com/MonPowerWV.
Potomac Edison serves about 275,000 customers in seven counties in Maryland and 155,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Follow Potomac Edison at potomacedison.com, on Twitter @PotomacEdison, and on Facebook at facebook.com/PotomacEdison.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.