State receives groundwater assessment reports for three Duke Energy facilities

Raleigh

RALEIGH - State environmental officials received today groundwater assessment reports from Duke Energy for three facilities with coal ash ponds in eastern North Carolina.

The groundwater assessment reports for H.F. Lee Power Station in Goldsboro, Sutton Power Station in Wilmington and Weatherspoon Steam Electric Plant in Lumberton are an important step toward cleaning up coal ash as the reports will be used by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to prioritize the closure of the coal ash impoundments.

“The reports we received today from Duke Energy are a direct result of our ongoing and aggressive approach to cleanup coal ash in North Carolina and hold Duke Energy accountable for environmental damages,” said Tom Reeder, assistant secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “The information contained in these reports will help ensure that all coal ash storage ponds are closed in a manner that best protects public health and the environment so that North Carolina can finally turn the page on this coal ash problem that has been building for the past 60 years.”

Duke Energy is required by Executive Order 62 and the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 to submit to DENR a groundwater assessment report for each of its facilities. Groundwater assessment reports for the Dan River Steam Station, Cliffside Steam Station, Riverbend Steam Station, Allen Steam Station, Asheville Power Station and Buck Steam Station are due later this month.

DENR has started reviewing the reports to determine the extent of groundwater contamination under the three facilities. By state law, the reports are required to describe all exceedances of state groundwater quality standards associated with the coal ash impoundments. Once the state environmental agency determines the report is accurate and complete, Duke Energy will have up to 180 days to submit a proposed Groundwater Corrective Action Plan to the department for its review and approval.

Governor Pat McCrory issued Executive Order 62 in August 2014, which set North Carolina on a path to address the safe cleanup of coal ash statewide and provided a framework for the comprehensive Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. In the 10 months since the act became law, the state has worked rigorously to issue the permits necessary to safely remove coal ash and close all coal ash ponds. DENR has worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to comply with its new coal ash permitting requirements.

The groundwater assessment plans will be posted as soon as possible to DENR’s website on its page devoted to coal ash.

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