Duke Energy to build lined coal ash landfills at closed power plants

coal power plant elp

Duke Energy plans to submit permits to construct fully lined on-site coal ash landfills at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden, N.C., and the Sutton Plant in Wilmington, N.C. The landfills will be located on plant property and will provide a permanent storage solution for more than 6 million tons of coal ash at the two sites.

The projects will also have contingency capacity for additional excavation at the sites, if needed. The proposed landfills are in addition to off-site solutions that Duke Energy submitted to regulators in November 2014 for more than 3 million tons of ash at the plants.

Landfills at each site will feature multiple layers of synthetic and natural barriers. Coal ash will be stored dry in the landfills with additional layers of lining installed on top of the landfill ­— containing the ash and separating it from surrounding soil and groundwater.

Extensive groundwater monitoring will ensure the landfills operate as designed and the local environment remains protected.

Duke Energy evaluated multiple excavation and storage options over many months to ensure the safe management of ash for the future at these sites.

The Dan River Steam Station, which was retired in 2012, is one of four coal plants identified as high priority under the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. Under the law, all ash in basins at the plant site must be fully excavated, with ash stored in a lined landfill or lined structural fill by August 2019. About 2.6 million tons of coal ash are stored at the Dan River Steam Station.

In November 2014, Duke Energy Carolinas announced it would transport about 1.2 million tons of Dan River Station coal ash primarily by rail to the Maplewood Landfill in Amelia County, Va. Transportation of ash is expected to begin later this year, while permitting and construction of the on-site landfill takes place at the Dan River Station. Work has already begun on property adjoining the plant to expand existing rail access to facilitate the first phase of ash transport.

Sutton Plant ceased coal operations in 2013 when a new 625 MW natural gas combined cycle unit began operation at the site. The coal plant is currently being demolished, and the ash basins closed. Like Dan River Station, Sutton Plant is one of four identified high-priority sites at which Duke Energy will excavate coal ash. The Sutton Plant contains about 7.2 million tons of coal ash in basins and other storage areas.

In November 2014, Duke Energy Progress announced that about 2 million tons of coal ash would be transported from the Sutton Plant by train to be used in a structural fill project at a clay mine in Chatham County. Those plans are expected to move ahead, pending receipt of state permits, with ash being delivered to the mine project as early as Fall 2015.

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