LG&E Plans Wall to Maximize Capacity of Ash Landfill at Cane Run

Louisville Gas and Electric has begun building a wall near its coal ash landfill at Cane Run.

The wall will be made substantially out of the same material the landfill is: a mixture of flue gas desulfurization sludge and coal ash that’s concrete-like. Right now the company’s landfill resembles gently-sloping mountains. But after the wall is built, it will allow the company to fill in the ash at a near-vertical slope, and fit more ash in the landfill.

The wall won’t expand the landfill either horizontally or vertically, and permits don’t specify a certain volume for the landfill. In an email, Solid Waste Branch Manager Ron Gruzesky said: “After an examination of the governing regulation, the DWM determined that this interior wall did not qualify as a permit modification. Therefore there is nothing to approve, and no public notice requirement.”

Gruzesky added that this sort of stabilizing wall in a landfill is a relatively new technology, and there aren’t specific standards or regulations for its construction. That concerns Cane Run neighbor Kathy Little, who is worried the wall  could fail.

LG&E spokeswoman Chris Whelan says the wall will hopefully avoid the need to construct another landfill on the site to hold ash.  “If we can avoid adding a landfill we’re going to do everything we can,” she said. The coal-fired Cane Run power plant is scheduled to be retired by 2016 and replaced with natural gas.