FirstEnergy subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison have begun construction on projects aimed at improving the wastewater treatment process at two coal-fired 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, would strive to align with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s updated effluent limitation guideline requirements.

The current process involves using nearby streams to wash coal ash from the plants’ furnaces before disposal. The new approach will involve grinding the ash into smaller particles, creating less wastewater. This wastewater must be carefully treated before safe discharge into rivers to protect aquatic ecosystems.

The upgrades will include the construction of conveyor belts to transport coal ash to concrete structures at each plant’s site. The dry ash will then be loaded onto trucks and transported to existing disposal sites.

The projects, part of a $142 million environmental compliance program approved by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia in 2022, are slated for completion by the end of 2025. Funding for the improvements will come from a customer surcharge starting in 2023, once the first project concludes.

The Fort Martin and Harrison Power Stations are expected to be retired in 2035 and 2040, respectively. The plants generate a combined 3,080 MW of power.

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