ATLANTA, Oct. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia Power today announced the latest progress on its plan to safely close all of its 29 ash ponds across the state.
As previously announced, all of the company's ash ponds will cease operations and stop receiving ash within the next three years. Additionally, the company is completely removing the ash from 17 ponds located adjacent to lakes or rivers. The ash from these ponds will be relocated to a permitted landfill, consolidated with other closing ash ponds on site or recycled for beneficial use. Approximately 50 percent of the coal ash Georgia Power produces today is recycled for various uses such as Portland cement, concrete, and cinder blocks. As part of its comprehensive strategy to implement effective closure plans designed for each individual site, the company is in the process of closing the remaining 12 ash ponds using advanced engineering methods, such as the installation of impermeable concrete barriers designed to restrict or isolate the closed pond from groundwater.
Over the past few months, the company has made significant progress on closure activities for 23 of its 29 ash ponds. Progress includes:
- The complete removal of the ash from three of the 17 ponds located adjacent to lakes or rivers, as well as substantial progress made on three additional ponds expected to be fully excavated before Q4 2017.
- Significant construction work completed on five of the 12 ponds to be closed in place using advanced engineering methods. One pond is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2016, one pond in Q1 2017, and the other three to be completed by Q1 2018.
- Engineering activity at all 29 ash ponds underway with active construction occurring at 11 ponds and pre-construction activities at another 12 ponds.
- The completion of the first of eight rounds of groundwater testing at all 29 ash ponds for 20 different regulated and unregulated substances. All results are being reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and being posted to the company's web site.
- More than 100 documents related to the company's Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) compliance program (i.e. closure plans, design construction information, etc.) have been prepared and are expected be posted to the web site by mid-November (in addition to currently posted information.)
- Technology selections have been made and active engineering and construction activities for dry ash conversion projects have begun at the company's largest facilities, including Plants Bowen, Scherer and Wansley.
Click here to view a chart detailing the closure method for all 29 ash ponds.
Ash pond closures are site-specific and balance multiple factors such as pond size, location, geology, and amount of material; and each closure will be certified by a team of independent, professional engineers. Additionally, the company must also ensure reliable electricity for customers during the significant construction work that must take place within each generating plant in order to accommodate the handling of dry ash and complete the ash pond closure process.
Throughout the closure process, Georgia Power is monitoring groundwater around all of its ash ponds and reporting the results to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division as well as posting to the company's web site. Additionally, more than 500 groundwater monitoring wells will continue to operate even after the ponds are closed.
Georgia Power delivers clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through a diverse generation mix, which includes renewable energy, such as wind and solar, along with natural gas, nuclear and coal-fired generation. Over the last five years, Georgia Power has safely retired or fuel-switched approximately 4,000 MW of coal and oil-fired generation and the company's coal-fired generation capacity is nearly half of what it was in 2005.
About Georgia Power
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company's promise to 2.5 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, 21st century coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Georgia Power focuses on delivering world-class service to its customers every day and the company is consistently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.GeorgiaPower.com and connect with the company on Facebook (Facebook.com/GeorgiaPower) and Twitter (Twitter.com/GeorgiaPower).
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the method and timing of closure of coal ash ponds. Georgia Power Company cautions that there are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Georgia Power Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Georgia Power Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including environmental laws regulating emissions, discharges, and disposal to air, water, and land, and also changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Georgia Power Company is subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries; the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses and to satisfy any environmental performance standards; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard-setting bodies. Georgia Power Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking information.
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SOURCE Georgia Power