State probes power company river discharge

| 29 Sep 2011 | 09:17

    WILKES-BARRE - The Department of Environmental Protection is investigating an Aug. 11 discharge into the Delaware River from Basin 4 of PPL’s Martins Creek power plant in Lower Mount Bethel Township in Northampton County. The discharged material was reported as inert silica. “PPL notified the department of at the time of the incident and we dispatched a member of our regional emergency response team to conduct the initial investigation of the discharge,” Department Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin said. “He found that the utility had already initiated its emergency notification procedures and that cleanup activities were almost complete.” Investigators took a sample of the material on the day of the incident and identified the material as cenospheres, or small, lightweight, inert, buoyant spheres made up mostly of silica. They are a byproduct of burning coal in power plants. The department will continue its investigation and intends to issue a notice of violation. The department and other federal and state environmental agencies are continuing a long-term investigation of the potential impact of a major flash spill from this impoundment basin that occurred Aug. 23, 2005.