Duke Energy reviews state civil penalty while making strong progress in closing ash basins

09 Feb, 2016, 09:52 ET from Duke Energy

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Duke Energy today issued the following statement regarding a civil penalty issued by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) related to the Dan River coal ash spill that occurred in February, 2014.

We will review the action taken by NCDEQ today as we continue to work as quickly as the state process will allow to safely close coal ash basins.

The state's own research demonstrates that the Dan River is thriving. Drinking water always remained safe and water quality returned to normal within days of the February 2014 incident. The company took responsibility and quickly stopped the discharge and permanently plugged the 48 and 36 inch stormwater pipes at the site.

At the Dan River facility and across the state, we're making strong progress in closing basins in ways that protect people and the environment, comply with state and federal coal ash laws, minimize impact to communities, and manage cost.

The Health of the Dan River
Multiple federal and state agencies have been closely studying the Dan River.

  • No physical impacts to fish or aquatic life have been observed to date.
  • The EPA stated it does not believe human health was affected by the ash release.
  • Within weeks of the incident, researchers from North Carolina State University determined the river was safe for irrigation and livestock use.
  • Duke Energy and regulators from NC and Virginia continue monitoring the river to identify any potential long-term effects. 

Great progress in closing basins
Here is what Duke Energy has done in the last few months:

  • Continued to excavate ash from the Asheville Plant (Asheville, N.C.) and began excavating at Cliffside Steam Station (Mooresboro, N.C.), Dan River Steam Station (Eden, N.C.), Riverbend Steam Station (Mount Holly, N.C.), Sutton Plant (Wilmington, N.C) and W.S. Lee Steam Station (Belton, S.C.) to fully lined, permanent solutions
  • Submitted comprehensive groundwater assessments to NCDEQ for each of the 14 coal plants in the state
  • Announced plans to build fully lined on-site landfills at the Dan River Steam Station (Eden, N.C.), Robinson Plant (Hartsville, S.C.), Sutton Plant (Wilmington, N.C.) and W.S. Lee Steam Station (Belton, S.C.)
  • Announced that the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting a comprehensive study of the coal ash recycling market and available technologies
  • Announced plans to retire the coal-fired Asheville Plant (Asheville, N.C.) in four to five years and modernize Duke Energy's generation and transmission system in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina – significantly reducing environmental impacts, improving system reliability and minimizing long-term costs to customers

About Duke Energy
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas, renewables and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 20,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to about 2.5 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Energy Progress owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides about 12,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.5 million customers in a 32,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

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