Duke Energy Announces Coal Ash Removal Plans

Duke Energy Announces Coal Ash Removal Plans

5:41am Nov 14, 2014

Duke Energy announced Wednesday that they have submitted plans to move millions of tons of coal ash from four storage facilities across the state.

The plans include moving almost half of what’s left of the coal ash in the retired Dan River basin. It was a spill at that Duke Energy facility that brought renewed scrutiny on coal ash storage. In February, more than 39,000 tons of coal ash flowed into the Dan River when a storm water pipe ruptured.

Frank Holleman is a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says the coal ash removal plan will be an improvement, but won’t completely remove the environmental threat.

“The Dan River site remains dangerous. We could have another spill there. It’s still a primitive, unlined set of pits that of course have been compromised by the failure that occurred there in February.”

The plans announced Wednesday come after state legislation passed over the summer in response to that spill. The legislation calls for removal or containment of coal ash to reduce the possibility of spills and leaks.

In all, 5.1 million tons of coal ash will be removed from four high priority sites identified under the Coal Ash Management Act legislation. Duke Energy operates 10 additional coal ash sites statewide. Under the law’s timeline, it could take 15 years for the utility to close all of its sites and remove the ash. 

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