We Energies, DNR meet to discuss Oak Creek bluff collapse

MILWAUKEE -- Months after a bluff collapsed at the We EnergiesOak Creek power plant, the investigation into what may have led to the collapse continues. Wednesday, representatives from We Energies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources met to discuss the bluff collapse back on Halloween 2011.

We Energies and DNR representatives met in Milwaukee to discuss the bluff collapse at the We Energies Oak Creek power plant. The meeting followed a notice of violation, which the DNR issued to We Energies. That notice details the exemption that allowed We Energies to construct a storm water pond where coal ash was once stored, and where the collapse eventually occurred.

Condition number 11 of the approval states "We shall install a liner where ponds or open channels are constructed over the waste areas."

The DNR says a liner was needed, but We Energies does not. "We completed a report, and we feel that We Energies did not follow the terms of the permit that was issued to them," Eric Nitschke with the Wisconsin DNR said.

"What we did find, as we were excavating for the pond, was some coal ash, so what we did is we removed those small deposits of coal ash, and then put them on the regulated landfill on the site, and then replaced that area with suitable soil. Then, we built the pond, so as long as there was suitable soil there, that's where we felt we could build that pond, without the liner," Brian Manthey with We Energies said.

Wednesday's meeting lasted about 15 minutes. The next step will involve We Energies responding to questions regarding the planned location(s) for the storm water pond. Those responses are to be submitted to the DNR by March 23rd.