Labadie Plant
Labadie Plant courtesy of Ameren UE

Ameren Missouri has formally applied for a permit from Franklin County to build a coal ash landfill at the Labadie power plant.

A $50,000 fee is included in the application process to pay for outside engineering firms.

Ameren submitted the fee to the county this week, along with its application.

Craig Giesmann, an engineer and project manager with Ameren Missouri, said the company’s plans for the landfill have changed since the project was first presented to the public at an open house at Labadie Elementary several years ago.

“Some big changes are the footprint and how it’s going to look from the exterior,” Giesmann said.

He said the proposed landfill site has been adjusted to avoid wetlands in the bottom land.

The company purchased 400 acres next to the power plant several years ago. The landfill, if completed, will occupy 100 acres of that property.

It will be used to store bottom ash and other waste products left over from the coal combustion process. The plant’s existing slurry ponds will be closed.

The remaining land will continue to be leased out to farmers.

Giesmann said the changes to the appearance of the landfill will be because of the county’s regulations.

“The Franklin County ordinance (requires) a concrete exterior on the berms. The berm is what encases the coal combustion residuals,” he said.

While the exterior of the berms have now been designed with a concrete facing, the berms will also contain clay and composite liners.

“Outside of that, things are pretty much the same,” Giesmann said.

He said Ameren engineers met with the county’s independent engineer, Andrews Engineering, to review the plans before submitting the application to the county.

Process Ongoing

Susan Knowles, Ameren Missouri general counsel, said the company is moving forward.

“There’s some things to work through. We need to file our construction application later this summer with (the Missouri Department of Natural Resources), and we’ll also be filing a petition with the Public Service Commission,” Knowles said.

The PSC filing will seek to expand the plant’s legal description to include the area of the landfill, Knowles said.

“The DNR review period is 12 months from when we file to make a decision on the application,” she said.

Knowles said the company is still within its expected timeframe. That timeframe called for the landfill to be operational by early 2014.

Landfill Is Opposed

The company has met opposition from Labadie area residents and others throughout the process.

The county heard hours of testimony opposing coal ash landfills prior to adopting its land use regulations last year.

Those regulations are currently facing a court challenge from some Labadie landowners and the Labadie Environmental Organization.

It isn’t clear how long it will take for the county to approve Ameren’s application. Calls to Planning Director Scottie Eagan and Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer were not returned by the time The Missourian went to press.