Georgia Power yesterday announced plans to cease operations at all of its 29 coal ash ponds within three years. According to the latest update of its pond closure strategy, the company will no longer accept coal ash after this period.
The company will also completely remove the ash from 16 ponds near lakes or rivers where impermeable concrete barriers cannot be used to isolate ponds from groundwater. Ash from these ponds will be landfilled, consolidated with other ash ponds, or recycled for industrial use.
"We are aggressively working to close our ash ponds as quickly and safely as possible to meet EPA's new standards for handling coal ash," said Dr. Mark Berry, vice president of environmental affairs for Georgia Power. "As part of our strategy, we are also leveraging advanced technologies and engineering practices to ensure additional measures are in place that are protective of groundwater."
The company will monitor groundwater throughout the closure process and report results to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Additionally, more than 500 groundwater monitoring wells will continue to operate even after the ponds are closed.