Coal Ash - Blog

State environmental officials have received the full settlement payment from Duke Energy for environmental violations related to the February 2014 coal ash spill at the company’s Dan River power plant in Eden. The fine, which is the second largest environmental fine in state history, addresses violations of the federal Clean Water Act that the company committed during and after the Dan River spill.

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State environmental officials finalized last week a consent order for Duke Energy’s Riverbend facility in Gaston County. The consent order imposes additional monitoring of seeps to ensure protection of the environment. The order also includes fines for seeps that were supposed to be permitted back in 2010. The consent order is part of an overall strategy requiring full closure of the Riverbend facility by August 1, 2019, and in accordance with the state coal ash law The consent order was publicly noticed and the comment period was closed on Nov. 4, 2016. 

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The McCrory administration issued the state’s largest-ever penalty for environmental damages in 2015 – fining Duke Energy $25.1 million for coal ash contamination – yet when it tried to enforce the fine it learned that policy decisions made by previous administrations made that impossible.

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RALEIGH – State environmental officials have issued key permits that allow Duke Energy to safely dispose of coal ash at its L.V. Sutton Energy Complex in Wilmington.   The state solid waste permit and isolated wetland permit issued last week give Duke Energy approval to start building a double-lined, industrial landfill at the Sutton facility. The on-site industrial landfill will be used to safely dispose of coal ash now stored in unlined ponds and other wastes generated at the Sutton facility.  

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State environmental officials announced that they will be accepting comment on a proposed consent order between the state environmental deparment and Duke Energy that imposes additional requirements and penalties for seeps from Duke Energy’s Riverbend facility located in Gaston County.  The proposed order, along with the facility’s water discharge permit issued earlier this year, will ensure both continued protection of the environment and ultimate closure of the facility. 

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Washington Times Op-Ed: Exaggerating chromium risks, The danger depends on the dose In case you missed it, check out the commentary on the scientific debate surrounding hexavalent chromium and risk management. Author Paul Driessen asks the question: What level of chromium-6 is safe in drinking water? The article notes that no other state in the country uses a 0.07 threshold for hexavalent chromium. This level is equal to 3.5 drops in an Olympic pool or one second in 467 years. Even ultra-cautious California sets its standard at 10 ppb, though some want it reduced to 0.06 ppb.

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The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a draft list of coal combustion residual (CCR) projects that require additional information to be posted on their websites. The Brickhaven structural fill project in Chatham coundy is listed on the initial draft inventory list because it must publish a compliance website. The Brickhaven facility is subject to both state and federal requirements. Of those, North Carolina’s requirements for environmental protection are more stringent. The federal rule imposes no additional health or environmental protection requirements. 

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