Hatfields Ferry power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Hatfields Ferry power station was a power station owned and operated by FirstEnergy. The power station had an installed capacity of 1,710 megawatts and is located in Masontown, Pennsylvania.[1]

In July 2013 FirstEnergy announced that it planned to decommission the plant by October 2013 rather than meet the costs of complying with the Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).[2] The plant closed as scheduled in October 2013.

In January 2016, plans were announced to reopen the plant in 2019 to run on natural gas or a mixture of coal.[3] However, as of 2021 no activity has taken place at the site and the plant remains shut down.

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Plant Data

  • Owner/Parent Company: FirstEnergy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,710 MW
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 570 MW (1969), 570 MW (1970), 570 MW (1971)
  • Location: 2907 East Royfurman Hwy., Masontown, PA 15461
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.853889, -79.927778
  • Coal Consumption:4 million tonnes a year.[1]
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:190.[1]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 9,139,990 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 135,082 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 20,056 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 454 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Hatfields Ferry

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[4] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[5]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Hatfields Ferry power station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 89 $650,000,000
Heart attacks 140 $16,000,000
Asthma attacks 1,400 $71,000
Hospital admissions 68 $1,600,000
Chronic bronchitis 53 $23,000,000
Asthma ER visits 67 $25,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed March 2011

Coal Ash Waste and Water Contamination

In August 2010 a study released by the Environmental Integrity Project, the Sierra Club and Earthjustice reported that Pennsylvania, along with 34 states, had significant groundwater contamination from coal ash that is not currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report, in an attempt to pressure the EPA to regulate coal ash, noted that most states do not monitor drinking water contamination levels near waste disposal sites.[6] The report mentioned Pennsylvania based Bruce Mansfield power station and Hatfields Ferry power station as both having groundwater contamination due to coal ash waste.[7]

According to the New York Times, Hatfield’s Ferry has violated the Clean Water Act 33 times since 2006, but has paid less than $26,000, even as the plant’s parent company earned $1.1 billion. After five states — including New York and New Jersey — sued Allegheny Energy to install scrubbers at Hatfield's, the company began dumping tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater containing chemicals from the scrubbing process into the Monongahela River. The River provides drinking water to 350,000 people and flows into Pittsburgh.[8][8]

Elevated mortality rates in nearby Luzerne township

In December 2010, it was reported that residents in Fayette County's La Belle said they have seen large loads of fly ash arriving in open barges with nothing covering the coal waste. Residents report witnessing how the ash is unloaded onto trucks, with the crane sometimes dropping the ash onto the shoreline of the Monongahela River and left there, or taken to a hilltop where it is dumped and left uncovered. The disposal site owned by Matt Canestrale Contracting Inc. accepts material from Allegheny Energy's Hatfields Ferry power station in Greene County. Up the hill from the barge-unloading facility, La Belle residents say coal dust settles on their properties and hangs in the air. They fear wind is picking up the ash from the hilltop dump and exposing surrounding neighborhoods to harmful heavy metals known to cause cancer and other health effects. Downwind from the dump site sits Sauerkraut Hill, where residents say there are nine cases of cancer in the 18 houses.[9]

The Luzerne Township has elevated mortality levels for diseases that have been linked to pollution exposure, according to a 2010 Post-Gazette ecological study on mortality rates. Luzerne had 170 heart-disease deaths from 2000 through 2008 -- 26 percent higher than the national average, which would project 135 deaths. The Mon Valley is near several coal plants -- including the Mitchell power station, Elrama power plant and Hatfields Ferry power station.[9]

A sample of fly ash that was taken from the La Belle dump site, which was tested by local company R.J. Lee Group, showed presence of arsenic and several heavy metals, most significantly lead. These represent levels in the actual ash, not amounts found in the air or on neighboring properties, but George "Sonny" Markish, 72, who lives less than a half mile from the fly-ash dump, is concerned about traces of fly ash and soot detected on the meat freezer inside his garage. Apples with blackened skins on a tree in his yard also contained traces of fly ash. Other residents say their pools are constantly black and their garden fruits and vegetables immediately turn brown.[9]

In response, local resident Gary Kuklish circulated petitions signed by 93 La Belle-area residents that he sent to the state Department of Environmental Protection to seek an investigation and force the owner to clean up the process. DEP officials investigated and ordered the company to dampen roads to reduce coal dust. But Mr. Kuklish believes DEP's actions, to date, have been insufficient to correct the problems and protect the public. In October 2010, the DEP and concerned citizens toured the fly ash depot. Worries began with news in May 2006 that a barge had sunk at the docking site, releasing tons of fly ash into the Mon River.[9]

Study finds dangerous level of hexavalent chromium at Hatfields Station

The study "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash," released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011, reported elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, a highly potent cancer-causing chemical, at several coal ash sites in Pennsylvania.[10] In all, the study cited 29 sites in 17 states where hexavalent chromium contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash as well as from studies by EarthJustice, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Sierra Club.[11][12][13][14] It included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin.[10]

According to the report, hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) was reported at elevated levels at the following sites:[10]

A press release about the report read:

Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.[15]

According to the report, the electric power industry is the leading source of chromium and chromium compounds released into the environment, representing 24 percent of releases by all industries in 2009.[10]

Other coal waste sites

To see a nationwide list of over 350 coal waste sites in the United States, click here. To see a listing of coal waste sites in a particular state, click on the map:

<us_map redirect=":Category:Existing coal waste sites in {state}"></us_map>

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 FirstEnergy, "Hatfields Ferry Power Station", FirstEnergy website, accessed July 2013.
  2. "FirstEnergy to Deactivate Two Coal-Fired Power Plants in Pennsylvania", Media Release, July 9, 2013.
  3. "Could the Hatfield's Ferry power plant see a reboot?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  4. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  5. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  6. "Study of coal ash sites finds extensive water contamination" Renee Schoff, Miami Herald, August 26, 2010.
  7. "Enviro groups: ND, SD coal ash polluting water" Associated Press, August 24, 2010.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Charles Duhigg,"Cleansing the Air at the Expense of Waterways" New York Times, October 12, 2009
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 David Templeton and Don Hopey, "Large loads in La Belle" Pittsburgh Post-Gazaette, Dec. 16, 2010.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash" Earthjustice & Sierra Club, February 1, 2011.
  11. "Damage Case Report for Coal Compustion Wastes," August 2008
  12. U.S. EPA Proposed Coal Ash Rule, 75 Fed. Reg. 35128
  13. EarthJustice, Environmental Integrity Project, and Sierra Club, "In Harm's Way: Lack of Federal Coal Ash Regulations Endangers Americans and their Environment," August 2010
  14. EarthJustice and Environmental Integrity Project, "Out of Control: Mounting Damages from Coal Ash Waste Sites," May 2010
  15. "Coal ash waste tied to cancer-causing chemicals in water supplies" Alicia Bayer, Examiner.com, February 1, 2011.

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