State seeks input on Duke Energy Progress Sutton Plant permit

Raleigh

RALEIGH – The Division of Water Resources announced Thursday that the draft modified wastewater and stormwater discharge permit for Duke Energy Progress’s Sutton Energy Complex is available for public review and comment.

Last November, DENR notified Duke Energy Progress of the state’s decision to reclassify Sutton Lake, an 1,100-acre waterbody adjacent to the electrical generating plant, from “treatment unit” to “waters of the State.” The reclassification increases state regulatory oversight and requires a major modification to the facility’s current federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit. The permit modification includes requirements for dewatering existing ash ponds at the facility in advance of ash removal.

Included in the draft modification is the establishment of a new wastewater outfall, Outfall 8, which carries recirculating cooling water from the combined cycle electrical generation unit, as well as wastewater and stormwater from various internal outfalls to the lake. Duke Energy Progress will be required to meet effluent limitations and to monitor characteristics of the discharge in order to ensure protection of the lake’s fish community. In addition, the facility is ordered to meet state temperature standards for water used to cool its combined cycle unit.

In accordance with the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, Duke Energy Progress is required to close its Sutton Plant coal ash ponds by August 1, 2019. The permit modification includes effluent limitations and monitoring that must be implemented as the ash ponds are dewatered, a necessary step before ash can be removed to a separate storage location. Although the Sutton Plant now operates as a natural gas-fired 620 megawatt combined cycle generation facility, it historically operated three coal-fired units. In 2013, the coal fired units were shut down yet the historic coal ash ponds are still maintained per requirements of the Coal Ash Management Act. The effluent from the ponds, which is discharged to the Cape Fear River, is regulated under the current permit.

The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Cape Fear Community College’s Union Station Auditorium, 502 N. Front St., Wilmington. Registration for those who wish to speak will begin at 5 p.m.

The draft wastewater permit modification and related documents are available online at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/guest/duke-npdes-permits . Printed copies of the draft permit and related documents may be reviewed at the department’s Wilmington Regional Office. To make an appointment to review the documents, please call910-796-7215.

Public comment on the draft permit modification should be mailed to Wastewater Permitting, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1617.

Public comment may also be submitted by email to publiccomments@ncdenr.gov . Please be sure to include “Sutton” in the email’s subject line.

The public comment period for the draft modified permit ends Aug. 6.

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