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State seeks public comment on draft permit to allow coal ash removal


State environmental officials are asking for public feedback on draft environmental permits that will allow safe closure of the coal ash pond at Duke Energy’s W.H. Weatherspoon Plant to begin while improving water quality protections.

The proposed draft wastewater permit mandates increased monitoring and includes requirements for draining the facility’s coal ash pond, a critical first step toward excavating and removing the ash. The proposed draft stormwater permit includes several new requirements, including development of a pollution prevention plan, implementation of approved stormwater management measures and monitoring runoff from the site.  The Robeson County facility is required to obtain National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permits to discharge wastewater and stormwater.  

The draft wastewater permit and related documents are available online at The draft stormwater permit and related documents are available online at Printed copies of the draft permits and related documents may be reviewed at the agency’s Fayetteville Regional Office. To make an appointment to review the documents, please call (910) 433-3300. 

Public comments on the draft permit should be mailed to:

  • Wastewater Permitting, Attn: Weatherspoon, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1617.
  • Stormwater Permitting, Attn: Weatherspoon, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1612.

Public comments may also be submitted by email to Please be sure to include “Weatherspoon Wastewater” or “Weatherspoon Stormwater” in the email’s subject line.

All comments received by Oct. 25, 2016 will be considered in the final determination regarding permit issuance and permit provisions.

As part of the public feedback process, the state environmental agency will hold a public hearing to accept comments on the two draft permits at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the Robeson Community College A.D. Lewis Auditorium, 5160 Fayetteville Rd., Lumberton, N.C. Speaker registration begins at 5 p.m.

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