Labadie Power Plant

After two delays, long-awaited hearings on a coal ash landfill proposed for Labadie will start Monday in Jefferson City.

The hearings, which are scheduled to go through April 2, are being held to determine whether the boundaries of Ameren Missouri’s Labadie Energy Center should be expanded to allow for a coal ash landfill to be constructed at the site.

The Public Service Commission, which regulates investor-owned utilities, is conducting the hearings.

The landfill site would be 813 acres, but the disposal area would only be about 166.5 acres, divided into four cells, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Ameren says it needs to build the landfill because it is running out of space in its coal ash storage ponds at the site.

Coal ash is the residue that is created when coal is burned to generate electricity. The Labadie Energy Center generates about 550,000 tons of the product each year.

The landfill would provide enough storage space for 24 years and be built in several phases with Phase 1 costing $27 million, according to Ameren. The company has said it wants the landfill operational by April 2016.

The parties that will take part in the formal hearings will include Ameren, the Sierra Club, the Labadie Environmental Organization, the Office of Public Counsel and the PSC staff.

The Labadie Environmental Organization is a grassroots group that opposes the proposed coal ash landfill. LEO members say they are concerned that the landfill would contaminate groundwater wells and reduce property values.

But Ameren says its landfill would be safe since it would have a liner, groundwater monitoring equipment and meet government regulations.

The PSC hearings will be held in Room 310 of the Governor Office Building, 200 Madison St., Jefferson City.