Closing ash basins in ways that protect the environment, communities
More than two years following the Dan River coal ash release, Duke Energy’s ash management work advances on multiple fronts.
Ash basin closure is underway at multiple sites across our service territory. In the Carolinas, the company began excavating ash at six plant sites in 2015 and has relocated more than 1 million tons to lined storage solutions. Excavation rates will jump dramatically in 2016 now that rail infrastructure is in place at multiple sites to safely and efficiently move ash.
The North Carolina Coal Ash Management Act, passed in 2014, outlines the detailed process the company is following to thoroughly study groundwater near ash basins, develop closure plans based on the unique features of the sites and close the basins by aggressive deadlines. The company hosted several community events for plant neighbors so they could learn more in advance of excavation work. The North Carolina law also provides several public input opportunities throughout the process. In December of 2014, EPA finalized the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule, which governs the management and disposal of coal ash. Duke Energy’s activities comply with all relevant state and federal regulations.
Across the rest of our service area, the company is in the process of safely closing some ash basins, while conducting engineering studies to prepare customized closure plans for others.
At locations where ash is either required to be excavated or where science determines that’s the best approach, the company looks first at relocating ash to landfills on plant property before evaluating off-site locations. Duke Energy announced in 2015 that it will pursue permitting for four new on-site, lined landfills in the Carolinas to receive excavated material.
All closure plans will meet requirements of the CCR rule and will protect groundwater. As Duke Energy continues this important work, it will close ash basins in ways that put safety first, protect the environment, minimize impact to communities and manage costs.