Coal Ash Erodes at Duke Plant Cooling Pond Break

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By Editors of Power Engineering

Duke Energy announced that some coal ash from the H.F. Lee power plant in Goldsboro, North Carolina has been carried away by flood waters.

Historically high flooding of the Neuse River thanks to Hurricane Matthew has covered three inactive coal ash basins at the plant. Duke initially reported a portion of the earthen cooling pond experienced a break last week, but at the time coal ash wasn’t detected.

Duke noted the cover in the inactive basins, including grass, shrubs and trees performed as expected.

Engineers and environmental experts will continue to closely watch the inactive basins and will be able to better assess the amount of material that was displaced in the near future, the press release said.  

The company notified regulators of the situation “out of an abundance of caution.”

The break in the cooling pond, about 50 to 60 feet wide, is in the southeast corner of the 545-acre impoundment. The cooling pond is a man-made reservoir that was constructed to supply cooling water to power plants at the site. It contains no coal ash.

The active ash basin is not affected by this incident and continues to operate, as does the 920-MW gas-fired, combined-cycle plant itself. 

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