NEWS: Utah assessing how much Rocky Mountain Power coal waste washed into Price River

Brain Maffly and Emma Penrod
August 08, 2016
The Salt Lake Tribune

A flash flood Thursday afternoon cut through a massive repository of coal ash outside Helper and pushed unknown quantities of the waste into the Price River.

Over the past six decades, Rocky Mountain Power has filled a side canyon to Price Canyon, just downstream of its Carbon Power Plant, with the plant’s ash. The plant was retired in April 2015, and the power company has been in the process of grading and capping the ash pile for permanent closure.

But a cloudburst Thursday sent floodwaters down Panther Canyon, overwhelming stormwater systems. Paul Murphy, a spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power (RMP), said the company is installing landfill safeguards — construction crews were on site when the flood hit — designed to withstand a storm so big that, statistically, it only happens once every 100 years.

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