Duke Coal Ash Seepage Leads To Record State Fine

Duke Coal Ash Seepage Leads To Record State Fine

11:48am Mar 11, 2015
An excerpt from the decision leading to a total of $25 million fine against Duke Energy.
WFDD image by Paul Garber

The state’s environmental enforcement agency has fined Duke Energy a record $25 million. And there may be more fines coming for coal ash contamination from a plant near Wilmington.

A coal ash spill into the Dan River last year made national headlines, but the massive fine announced by the Department of the Environment & Natural Resources relates to a different incident.

The department cited Duke Energy for contamination into Sutton Lake near Wilmington.

DENR says the fine is based on the impact to the groundwater and the duration of the violations, which the agency says went on for several years.

The $25 million penalty was almost five times greater than its previous record penalty the agency imposed almost 30 years ago for an air-quality violation by a company then known as Texas Gulf.

Duke Energy has 30 days to respond. DENR says the utility could face additional fines for possible violations of its federal Clean Water Act permit.

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