NC Coal Ash Clean Up

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:11 AM gHale

After all the fallout out from its coal ash debacle, Duke Energy will excavate coal ash stored at Dan River and three other “high priority” sites to reuse some as structural fill and bury much of the rest in a landfill.

Duke Energy said the Dan River ash would ship via rail to “an existing, lined landfill” in Jetersville, VA, for permanent disposal.

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But ash from Duke’s Asheville, Riverbend and Sutton ash ponds would see reuse as structural fill at the Asheville Regional Airport and in open-pit clay mines in Chatham and Lee counties, the company said.

In addition, a small amount also from Duke’s Riverbend facility will end up used by a cement-making company in some of its products.

The plan would remove slightly less than half of the 2.6 million tons of ash stored in two ponds at Dan River, and roughly 30 percent of the ash stored collectively at all four sites, the company said.

The plans need approval from regulators from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and by the new N.C. Coal Ash Management Commission.

The commission ended up created to supervise the legally required closure of the utility’s 32 ponds for ash storage at 14 active and retired coal-fired plants across the state by 2029.

The state’s new coal ash law, which created the commission, requires closing ponds at the four high-priority sites by Aug. 1, 2019.

“The initial work at these facilities will help us assess various approaches for the closure plans at our remaining 10 North Carolina facilities,” said John Einitsky, the utility’s senior vice president of ash basin strategy.

The company said once approved by state government, its plans at each of the four sites could wrap up within 12 to 18 months. The company estimated the mine projects in Chatham and Lee counties would create 100 jobs and boost the area’s tax base.

“This milestone reflects Duke Energy’s commitment to moving forward as quickly as practicable in a safe and environmentally sound way to address the enormous task of long-term coal ash storage in North Carolina,” company Chief Executive Lynn Good said.

“We are devoted to being good neighbors to the communities we serve and good custodians of our shared environment.

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