Duke to repair leaky pipe at coal ash dump near Charlotte

Marshall Steam Station DUKE PEPWR

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina environmental officials said Thursday that they have approved plans by Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) to drain contaminated wastewater from a huge coal ash dump near Charlotte to repair a leaking pipe.

State Dam Safety Engineer Steve McEvoy told The Associated Press there is a small hole and a crack in a drainage pipe running under an earthen dam at the Marshall Steam Station, a coal-fired power plant located on the shores of Lake Norman.

McEvoy said the leaks at Marshall were identified about six months ago when a robotic camera was sent up the 30-inch-wide pipe, which is made out of corrugated metal with a plastic liner. He said the pipe is not in immediate danger of failure.

In February, the collapse of a corrugated metal pipe at a Duke plant in Eden triggered the massive spill that coated more than 70 miles of the Dan River with gray sludge. In response, state leaders passed a law requiring Duke to shut down all of its ash dumps by 2029. But precisely how the bulk of Duke's more than 100 million tons of ash in the state will be permanently disposed of remains to be determined.

McEvoy said his office has received similar requests from Duke for repairs on pipes at 18 of the company's 32 coal ash dumps scattered across the state.

"There are a number of repairs going on with the coal ash pond fleet," McEvoy said. "This is just one of them."

Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said she didn't know the estimated flow of the leaks, but said the company's decades of monitoring of wastewater from Marshall had not identified any significant threat to the environment.

Division of Water Resources spokeswoman Susan Massengale said she couldn't immediately answer whether the agency has tested the flow rate or contamination levels in the water coming out of the pipe at Marshall since the leak was discovered.

The dump at Marshall covers about 450 acres and contains more than 22 million tons of waterlogged coal ash. State officials said Duke will be required to test the wastewater pouring into the lake periodically to ensure the levels of contamination don't exceed limits set under Duke's state wastewater permit.

Under that permit, issued in 2011, Duke is required to monitor for levels of arsenic and mercury, but there is no set limit on the levels of the toxic heavy metals the company is allowed to discharge into the lake. Under the permit, Duke is allowed to collect its own samples and have them tested at the company's own state-certified lab.

The permit includes no requirement that Duke test its wastewater for an array of other toxic chemicals often contained in coal ash, including lead, chromium or thallium.

"It is a chronic problem across the state that the permits for these disposal sites don't regulate the types of metals that we know to be a point of concern with coal ash pollution," said D.J. Gerken, a lawyer at the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Subscribe to Power Engineering magazine

2014 Articles

Harvard Law School professor pays Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional


Laurence H. Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard University and former mentor to Barack Obama, said in an article last week that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.

3 SKorea workers die at nuke plant construction site


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Three South Korean workers died Friday after apparently inhaling toxic gas at a construction site for a nuclear plant being built by South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company, which has come un...

UMaine in business of certifying turbine blades


ORONO, Maine (AP) — The University of Maine has tested its largest wind turbine blade to date. UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center completed static strength testing this month of a 184-foot-long wind turbine...

Mergers, EPA carbon plan generated much attention during 2014


Mergers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, cheap natural gas and the polar vortex were among the most noteworthy generation stories of 2014.

Developer opens Ohio review for 800-MW, gas-fired project


Clean Energy Future-Lordstown LLC plans an 800-MW, gas-fired power project, and on Dec. 24 applied with the Ohio Power Siting Board for certain routine waivers it needs before filing a full siting application for this proj...

New England utility exec named to Vermont PSB


A woman who worked for Vermont's Department of Public Service for 17 years is going to become the next member of the utility-regulating Public Service Board. The appointment of Sarah Hofmann was announced Monday by Gov. Pe...

Brown picks aide to lead troubled California utility board


Gov. Jerry Brown named a former adviser on Tuesday to be the next head of California's troubled utilities commission, replacing a regulatory chief accused of back-channel dealings with utilities. Michael Picker, a former a...

Washington state carbon emissions dropped in 2011


Greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state dropped by about 4.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, led by reductions in emissions from the electricity sector, according to the latest figures released by the state. The latest...

Group wants state regulators recused from PNM case


State regulators in less than two weeks are to begin deliberating a proposal that calls for shutting down part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico that serves more than 2 million customers in the ...

Vermont Yankee plant prepares to shut down


The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is getting ready to shut down. Its owner, Entergy Corp., says it is closing the plant for economic reasons. The plant in Vernon is expected to disconnect from the regional power grid Monday.

PSEG Solar to acquire Maryland solar project from juwi


PSEG Solar Source will acquire a 12.9-MW solar energy facility near Waldorf, Maryland from juwi solar (JSI). The PSEG Waldorf Solar Energy Center will increase the capacity of PSEG Solar Source's portfolio to 123-MW.

PG&E discloses more emails with state regulators


California's largest power utility released a dozen more emails Monday that it said showed improper back-channel discussions between the utility and top state regulators.

Indianapolis airport solar farm expansion completed


Contractors have finished bringing online dozens of acres of solar panels at Indianapolis International Airport, solidifying its status as the home of the nation's largest airport-based solar farm.

French power company to pay $772M in bribery case


A French power and transportation company has agreed to pay $772 million to resolve allegations that it bribed high-ranking foreign government officials for lucrative projects, the Justice Department said Monday.

Nebraska nuclear plant back online after short outage


The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant is back online less than a week after its main generator unexpectedly shut down as a precaution.

Ameren Missouri plans $135M in energy efficiency


Missouri's largest electric company said Monday that it plans to invest $135 million in energy efficiency programs for customers over a three-year period.

TEPCO completes nuclear fuel assemblies removal from Fukushima 4


Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it has safely removed the fuel assemblies from the most damaged nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

B&W Vølund to build waste-to-energy power plant in Scotland


In a consortium with Interserve, Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s (B&W, NYSE:BWC) subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S (B&W Vølund), will engineer, procure and construct (EPC) a waste-to-energy (WTE) power plant f...

SKorea holds N-plant drills against cyber threats


South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company said it began drills Monday against possible cyberattacks after online threats of attack against its plants.

PSC approves solar power project


The Public Service Commission has approved solar power project planned by Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric in Mercer County.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now


Logistics Risk Management in the Transformer Industry

Transformers often are shipped thousands of miles, involving multiple handoffs,and more than a do...

Secrets of Barco UniSee Mount Revealed

Last year Barco introduced UniSee, a revolutionary large-scale visualization platform designed to...

The Time is Right for Optimum Reliability: Capital-Intensive Industries and Asset Performance Management

Imagine a plant that is no longer at risk of a random shutdown. Imagine not worrying about losing...

Going Digital: The New Normal in Oil & Gas

In this whitepaper you will learn how Keystone Engineering, ONGC, and Saipem are using software t...