BALTIMORE, MD (April 2, 2010) – Today the Maryland Department of the Environment filed a lawsuit in Federal court against Mirant Mid-Atlantic, LLC and Mirant Maryland Ash Management, LLC for water pollution violations at Mirant’s Brandywine site related to the disposal of coal combustion products, including fly ash. MDE alleges that Mirant has discharged and continues to discharge pollutants from leachate into Mataponi Creek and the groundwater without a permit. Read MDE’s filing here.
Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson said: “Properly managing coal combustion byproducts is critical to protecting public health and ensuring safe drinking water. The Department has taken this step in order to quickly bring Mirant’s Brandywine disposal site into compliance with important water pollution controls and other laws.”
MDE elected to file a citizen suit under the Clean Water Act because of the lack of progress in resolving environmental violations at the Brandywine site and similar violations at Mirant’s Faulkner fly ash site, which is the subject of a pending action in State court.
MDE’s December 2008 regulations require leachate collection, groundwater monitoring, liners, and increased analysis for all coal combustion byproduct disposal facilities, as well as annual reporting. New coal combustion byproducts disposal sites must meet stringent permitting requirements to ensure their safe disposal.
Secretary Wilson continued: “When MDE’s new requirements took effect, the Department recognized that existing disposal sites would be out of compliance. MDE intended to enter into compliance schedules to ensure all such facilities would take action to meet the new requirements and take any other necessary measures. To date, MDE has not secured an agreement with Mirant on a schedule to fully investigate and clean up groundwater and surface water contamination, nor do we have a compliance schedule for meeting the new coal combustion byproducts requirements at Brandywine.”
Based on historical and current sampling data from on and around the Brandywine site, the groundwater and surface water contamination does not appear to pose an immediate public health risk. MDE’s goals include ensuring that the monitoring system is adequate and will fully assess the site conditions.