UPDATED: More Coal Ash Problems at Cane Run

by Erica Peterson on August 12, 2011

Even though problematic machinery was briefly taken offline, there are still problems with coal ash at Louisville Gas & Electric’s Cane Run power plant. Residents are reporting seeing coal ash coming out of the plant and into the air both yesterday and today.

LG&E took the sludge processing plant out of commission after it malfunctioned, releasing clouds of coal ash. They started it up again last night, and LG&E spokesman Chip Keeling said it was operating correctly.

“The unit’s repaired now, and everything’s functioning just like it should,” he said. “Just normal.”

But residents documented clouds of ash rising above the plant. Keeling says a puff of dust when the machine started back up is normal.

“The puff lasted about 10 seconds,” Keeling said.

Greg Walker lives 50 yards away from the power plant’s landfill. He says the release lasted at least four hours—maybe longer, but it got dark. And this afternoon, more dust was spewing out of the same faulty sludge processing plant. Walker watched it, along with an official from the Air Pollution Control District.

“4:40 in the afternoon I’m looking at coal ash, dust blowing out of the sludge plant right in front of me,” Walker said. “APCD is sitting here watching it, LG&E employees have seen us and they keep on running it.”

As a short-term fix, Keeling said the sludge plant’s doors and windows were covered to help contain the dust. In the long term, he says the company is planning to encase the sludge processing plant in a structure to minimize the ash that gets out.

UPDATE: As of 7:15p.m., LG&E officials have temporarily shut the sludge processing plant down.

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