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First North Carolina coal ash ponds safely drained of surface water

Friday, February 19, 2016 - 12:00am

State environmental officials were notified this week that North Carolina is one step closer to permanently eliminating the threat of coal ash at one of the four high priority sites named in the coal ash law.  The Duke Energy L.V. Sutton Energy Complex has successfully completed the removal of free standing water from its ash basins which immediately reduces the threat of negative environmental impacts. 

“It is good to see the progress being made towards our goal of protecting public health and the environment by getting another step closer to permanently closing these coal ash ponds,” said Tom Reeder, Assistant Secretary for the Environment at DEQ. “The environmental department will continue to monitor this process closely to ensure that there are no negative impacts to the environment and that all coal ash is safely stored.”

The state environmental department previously issued approvals to the utility that allowed the decanting process to begin. Decanting consists of lowering the free standing water level to no less than three feet above coal ash that has settled in basins. The utility is beginning installation of a water treatment system necessary to support treatment of the remaining water.  Removal of the remaining water is called the dewatering process that is done under strict monitoring by state environmental officials and is an essential step in removing the threat coal ash presents to the environment and public health.

North Carolina's coal ash law requires that impoundments at Duke Energy’s Sutton, Asheville, Riverbend and Dan River facilities be permanently closed by Aug. 1, 2019. The remaining 10 sites will be prioritized for closure based on the level of risk they present to the environment and public health, with all coal ash ponds and discharges from those ponds eliminated no later than 2029.

To read the letter received by Duke Energy you may click the link below.


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