MEDIA ADVISORY: Public hearing on draft environmental permits near coal ash ponds

Raleigh

RALEIGH – State environmental officials will host a public hearing Wednesday in Lincolnton on proposed permits aimed at better protecting water quality at several of Duke Energy’s largest coal ash storage facilities.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has proposed modifying existing permits for wastewater discharges as part of the permit renewal process for the Allen, Marshall and Riverbend coal ash facilities near Charlotte. The state agency has also drafted permits for stormwater discharges at the three plants in response to stormwater permit applications received from Duke Energy.

By law, the state will require that all Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds in North Carolina are closed and all discharges from those ponds are eliminated. Until the closure plans are enacted, however, the state is pursuing the discharge permits to ensure that existing discharges, some of which are necessary to ensure the integrity of the dams at the coal ash ponds, do not compromise the water quality in lakes and rivers. DENR worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop the proposed permits to ensure that all discharges are properly monitored and sampled to ensure the protection of water quality.

The department is hosting the public hearing from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at the James Warner Citizen Center in Lincolnton to obtain additional public feedback on all six draft permits. In early March, DENR made the permits available online at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/guest/duke-npdes-permits and at its Mooresville regional office and invited the public to comment on the permits. Written public comments on the stormwater permits should be mailed to: Stormwater Permitting, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1612. Written public comments on the wastewater permits should be mailed to: Wastewater Permitting, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1617. Public comments may also be submitted via email to: publiccomments@ncdenr.gov . For electronic submissions, people are asked to include either “Stormwater” or “Wastewater” in the email’s subject line depending on which type of permit is being addressed. All written and verbal comments received by May 5 will be considered in the final determination regarding permit issuance and permit provisions.

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