U.S. EPA released a draft report and related materials concerning two coal ash impoundments at American Electric Power’s (AEP) Philip Sporn facility in West Virginia. Out of an abundance of caution and in the spirit of transparency, EPA notified West Virginia and Ohio public officials, first responders and American Energy and Power of concerns about AEP’s Philip Sporn facility on October 29, 2009.
The agency took this highly unusual step because a report done as part of the ongoing comprehensive review of dam integrity of coal ash impoundment sites found factors at the AEP Philip Sporn facility that are similar to the TVA Kingston facility that failed in December 2008.
Though EPA does not believe the impoundments pose an imminent threat to the surrounding communities based on the draft report’s assessment and follow-up technical reviews, EPA issued an information request letter requiring the company to conduct several studies to assure the safety of these impoundments.
The company is required to provide the results of those studies to EPA within 90 days. The company has agreed to perform the requested studies. The agency will continue to work with AEP and state and local officials and will use all necessary authority to assure the safety of the facility.
The process of reviewing and responding to these reports normally takes a month or more. In this case, however, EPA expedited the process so the community had access to as much information as quickly as possible.
Draft report and related materials: