- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - East Kentucky Power Cooperative won approval Friday from state utility regulators to move ahead with its plans to transfer 560,000 tons of coal ash to a new landfill in central Kentucky.

Moving the mountains of ash - material left over when coal is burned at power plants to produce electricity - will be time consuming with a fleet of trucks hauling it on some roads in Clark County.

The state Public Service Commission approved the $26.9 million project to move the ash from the cooperative’s aging William C. Dale power plant along the Kentucky River in Clark County to a new landfill in the same county. The utility plans to shut down the last two units at the coal-fired Dale plant by April 2016.

Trucking the ash to the new site will eliminate the potential threat of a large spill into the river.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative spokesman Nick Comer said the PSC decision will allow the cooperative to deal with the coal ash stockpiles “in a safe, cost-effective and environmentally prudent manner.”

Construction of the new landfill is expected to start next month.

The project will add 34 cents per month to average residential customer bills, the cooperative said. The cost will be phased in as the project progresses, it said.

The extra costs to customers related to the project could last up to 10 years, the utility said.

Hauling ash to the new site is likely to start in late summer or early fall and continue over 53 weeks through 2017, with breaks during colder months, the cooperative said.

The waste will be relocated to a new landfill at the J.K. Smith power plant near Trapp, also in Clark County.

The haul route between the old storage site and new landfill will cover about 27 miles each way. The cooperative estimates about 132 truckloads of ash can be moved per day.

The new landfill would have a liner under it and a system to collect water that leached out, the cooperative said. State environmental regulators have already issued a permit to build it.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative supplies electricity to 16 electric cooperatives, which serve about 520,000 homes and businesses in 87 eastern and central Kentucky counties.

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