DEQ Issues NPDES Permit and Special Order by Consent for Belews Creek Plant


The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality today approved two actions for the Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC’s Belews Creek Steam Station located at 3195 Pine Hall Road, Belews Creek, NC, in Stokes County. The first is a renewal of the NPDES Wastewater Permit and the second is a Special Order by Consent. Both actions included a comment period that concluded on January 25, 2019.


The facility currently discharges industrial wastewater to an unnamed tributary to the Dan River in the Roanoke Basin. The permit imposes a flow limit for coal ash decanting and requires the physical and chemical treatment of coal ash dewatering discharges. The full permit and factsheet are available online here:


In response to public comment, DEQ revised and strengthened environmental protections in the Special Order by Consent. Within ten months, Duke Energy is required to install and operate a physical and chemical treatment system for a portion of its decanting discharge. This treatment system will then be used to treat discharges during the dewatering process under the NPDES permit.

While the order is effective, interim effluent limits will be established at NPDES Outfalls 003, 003A and 111, and interim action levels will be established. This Order will expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

Compliance with this Order requires Duke Energy to speed up construction activities at the Belews Creek Steam Station, resulting in the redirection of all treated, coal ash wastewater flows to a new outfall, eliminating pollution discharged to an unnamed tributary to the Dan River by September 30, 2020. The Special Order By Consent is available online here:

In 2018, Duke Energy proposed closure options for Belews Creek and five other coal ash impoundment sites across North Carolina. For more information on the  closure options proposed by Duke and currently under review by DEQ, click here.