Regulators file suits against Duke's coal ash impoundments in N.C.

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources filed two lawsuits Duke Energy Progress Duke Energy Carolinas wastewater discharge coal ash impoundments

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources filed two lawsuits for injunctive relief against Duke Energy Progress Inc. (NYSE: DUK) and Duke Energy Carolinas LLC for claims related to the discharge of wastewater from the utility’s North Carolina coal ash impoundments that were not included in the state’s earlier legal actions.

Regulators filed the two complaints August 16 in Wake and Mecklenburg counties seeking a state Superior Court order to require the utility to address groundwater and wastewater violations at 12 sites the utility uses to store coal ash residuals.

The lawsuits filed relate to permit violations the state found at the Cliffside Steam Station, Buck Steam Station, Allen Steam Station, Belews Creek Steam Station, Dan River Combined Cycle Station, Marshall Steam Station, Cape Fear Steam Station, H.F. Lee Steam Electric Plant, Mayo Steam Electric Generating Plant, Roxboro Steam Electric Generating Plant, L.V. Sutton Electric Plant and Weatherspoon Steam Electric Plant.

The state proposed a settlement to similar lawsuits against the Riverbend and Asheville plants in July. Out of the 14 coal plants in the state, Duke Energy will retire half of them by the end of 2013. The Riverbend and Buck plants shut down in April, but the site of the old Buck plant now hosts a 620 MW natural gas-fired facility.

Monitoring of groundwater at the compliance boundaries of the 12 power plants revealed levels of chemical constituents that exceed standards for groundwater protection. Also, state water quality inspectors have observed seeps at most of the facilities.

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