State cites companies with permit violations at proposed coal ash reuse project site

Raleigh

RALEIGH – State officials today took enforcement action in response to environmental permit violations at an open-pit clay mine in Chatham County that is being prepared to hold coal ash.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a notice of violation to Green Meadow LLC and Moncure Holdings LLC for failure to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination, or NPDES, construction stormwater permit for land-disturbing activities the companies have been conducting near the Brickhaven No. 2 Mine Tract “A” in Chatham County. A NPDES construction stormwater permit is required when a construction project disturbs at least one acre of land.

DENR also issued a notice of deficiency to Green Meadow LLC for activities that violated mining permit conditions at the site. The notice cites clearing and grading that took place prior to the installation of required sediment and erosion control devices, such as sediment basins and adequate silt fencing.

“As Governor McCrory’s coal ash clean-up initiative moves forward, our department will continue to provide leadership, technical guidance and regulatory oversight,” said Tom Reeder, DENR’s assistant secretary for the Environment. “We will ensure that these projects are done the right way to protect the environment and public health.”

Chatham County, which was delegated authority by the state to administer a local erosion and sediment control program, issued Green Meadow and Moncure Holdings a separate notice of violation for violating local ordinances at the Brickhaven mine site.

DENR is reviewing an application from Green Meadow requesting permission to modify the Brickhaven mining permit reclamation plan. The company has also submitted an application to permit a coal ash reuse project at the site. The proposed plan would move coal ash from several Duke Energy facilities for use as structural fill in the mine. The company is required to install engineered, protective liners in the pits before depositing the coal ash. The liner is designed to capture leachate for disposal and act as a protective barrier between coal ash contaminants and groundwater.

Today’s stormwater permit notice of violation requires Green Meadow and Moncure Holdings to respond to the notice within 10 days. The response must include documentation of when land-disturbing activity began, an explanation of how the company has responded to the notice of violation issued by Chatham County and details of measures that have been taken to eliminate potential sediment impacts to nearby waterways. The mining permit notice of deficiency requires Green Meadow to install sediment basins and adequate silt fencing within 10 days of receipt of the notice. The notice of deficiency also directs the company to cease all activity in the area of the mine where construction of a rail spur is proposed and to submit revised plans to the department for approval.

Failure to comply with conditions of the notice of violation may result in fines of up to $25,000 per day per violation. Failure to comply with the conditions of the notice of deficiency may result in additional enforcement action, including issuance of a notice of violation and civil penalty assessment of up to $500 per day. Copies of the enforcement documents can be found online at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/lr/brickhaven-mine-enforcement .

Green Meadow has announced plans to use coal ash as structural fill at the Brickhaven mine and a second mine in Lee County.

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