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Statement on Sutton Plant

Raleigh, NC

Teams from three Department of Environmental Quality regulatory divisions have been closely monitoring conditions at Duke Energy’s Sutton facility, remaining in close contact with onsite engineers throughout the week.  During that time, floodwaters from the Cape Fear River have flowed into Sutton Lake on the north side and back into the river on the south side. This morning, state dam safety officials were notified of a dam breach of between 100 and 200 feet at the south end of Sutton Lake.  Additional reports indicate there are other smaller breaches in the dam. Although river flooding has approached the two inactive coal ash basins at the facility, it appears there are currently no structural issues with those impoundments. DEQ’s dam safety engineers are now coordinating with NCDOT to conduct drone inspections to determine real-time site conditions.  While the state is currently in emergency response mode, a thorough investigation of events will soon follow to ensure that Duke Energy is held responsible for any environmental impacts by their coal ash facilities.