Work at coal ash basins across the states Duke Energy serves was bustling in 2017 as the company continued excavating at some sites and preparing other basins for safe closure.
The company has proposed a combination of excavating some basins and capping others in place with a synthetic barrier based on site-specific engineering and scientific studies.
All closure plans will be designed to protect the environment and communities we serve. In addition to meeting state and federal requirements, these closure plans help manage costs for customers, minimize community disruption and mirror how most utilities across the nation will close basins.
To date, the company has safely excavated and relocated nearly 17 million tons of ash systemwide, with 7.2 million tons removed in 2017.
At operating coal plants, the company is investing in the technology needed to take ash basins out of service. This includes constructing new, lined retention basins for wastewater management, installing state-of-the-art treatment systems and adding new equipment to manage bottom ash in a dry form. These plants have been managing fly ash in lined landfills for a number of years.
Duke Energy continues to look for innovative ways to recycle and reuse coal ash. Overall, Duke Energy successfully recycled about 70 percent of the coal ash produced at its operating power plants in 2017.
A valuable construction material, ash makes concrete products stronger and more durable. The company has announced ash reprocessing units at three sites in North Carolina that will make nearly 1 million additional tons of ash suitable for the concrete industry. This will enhance the company’s ability to recycle basin ash that typically can’t be used for concrete without additional processing.