State permit issued to allow disposal of coal ash at Sutton facility in Wilmington

Raleigh, NC

State environmental officials have issued a permit that will allow Duke Energy to start disposing of coal ash at a new lined landfill proposed for the utility’s Sutton Steam Station in Wilmington.

The permit, issued Thursday, allows Duke Energy to move forward with its plans to construct and operate a lined industrial landfill to store coal ash now contained in two unlined basins on the same property.

“The safety and well-being of people living near these coal ash ponds is a top priority,” said Michael S. Regan, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. “This permit requires that the landfill be constructed and operated with the current safeguards you would find for other landfills in North Carolina.”   

In addition to the protective liner, the landfill will be constructed with a system to collect and treat wastewater. Duke Energy also will be required to conduct regular environmental monitoring of water quality around the landfill and correct any problems if they are identified. A copy of the permit to construct and operate the landfill can be found on the state agency’s website at: https://edocs.deq.nc.gov/laserfiche/ElectronicFile.aspx?db=WasteManagement&id=276862. The permit approval letter is at: https://edocs.deq.nc.gov/laserfiche/ElectronicFile.aspx?db=WasteManagement&id=705726.

The state environmental agency conducted an environmental justice analysis to examine the potential impacts the coal ash landfill could have on people living within a mile of the project. The analysis determined that no one was living within a one-mile radius of the proposed landfill.

The state agency is also moving forward with closure plans at several other coal ash impoundments. In October, DEQ officials approved a permit for a similar coal ash landfill at the Dan River facility in Eden. Duke Energy constructed the landfill at the Dan River facility and started in May moving coal ash from an unlined basin at the facility and storing it at the on-site lined landfill.

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