Duke Closing One Ash Pond

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 @ 09:03 AM gHale

Duke Energy submitted plans to close the coal ash pond at the company’s Sutton Plant in New Hanover County, NC, as part of its larger action plan following a leak of toxic materials at its Dan River location.

The company’s comprehensive plan includes initiatives to “accelerate planning and closure of the Sutton ash ponds to include evaluation of possible lined structural fill solutions and other options,” said Duke Energy President and Chief Executive Lynn J. Good in a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary John Skvarla.

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Good’s letter said the company will submit the plan NCDENR within six months, and “removing the water from the ash basins will be completed in the next 18 to 24 months.”

Duke Energy’s Sutton Steam Electricity Plant was one of several locations cited for a permit violation earlier this month. The facility does not have a stormwater permit, according to the state. DENR spokeswoman Bridget Munger said federal standards require a permit for any industry operating outside where chemicals could wash away by rain water.

Duke Energy also said it plans to move three leaky coal ash pits away from North Carolina waterways, including one that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge.

Duke said it will take at least two years to clean up the Dan River site, as well as sites near Asheville and Charlotte. State regulators said Duke’s plans fall short of cleaning up nearly three dozen leaky coal ash dumps spread across the state.

After the Feb. 2 spill, Gov. Pat McCrory and regulators gave Duke a March 15 deadline to provide details of how the company would stop pollution at the ash pits, but on Thursday, Skvarla called the plans inadequate.

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