Associated Press Published

Property owners sue FirstEnergy over coal ash impoundment

Little Blue Run Coal Ash Impoundment

More than 50 West Virginia and Pennsylvania property owners are suing FirstEnergy over groundwater pollution, soggy yards, and foundation damage they say was caused by a leaking coal ash impoundment.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wheeling accuses the Ohio-based power company of negligence, reckless conduct, trespassing and creating a nuisance.

It says arsenic and other substances have leached out of the unlined, 1,700-acre Little Blue Run impoundment into groundwater, and the air has been fouled by the noxious odors of hydrogen sulfide gas.

The complaint says the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has repeatedly cited FirstEnergy for violations, so FirstEnergy’s conduct should qualify as willful and reckless.

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said the company hasn’t formally received the lawsuit, but a proposed closure plan is under review by Pennsylvania regulators.