Duke Energy agreed to excavate nearly 80 million tons of coal ash in North Carolina as part of a settlement agreement with community and environmental groups, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reported on Thursday. According to the DEQ, the agreed-upon excavation is the largest coal ash cleanup in United States history. The settlement ends years of controversy over the utility’s unlined coal ash ponds, Carolina Public Press pointed out. “For decades, coal ash has been stored in landfills or in ponds, often near waterways into which toxins can leach,” the Associated Press reported. Under the agreement, DEQ says that Duke Energy must excavate more than 76 million tons of coal ash from open.

Unlined impoundments at six facilities:

Allen, Belews Creek, Cliffside, Marshall, Mayo, and Roxboro. The utility also has to move the coal ash into onsite lined landfills. More than 3 million tons of non-impoundment coal ash will also be excavated, DEQ added. “Two facilities, Roxboro and Poland Phone Number Data Marshall, will be subject to additional protective measures for specific sections of impoundments that will remain under existing permitted landfills or structural fills,” DEQ noted. “Protective measures will include stabilization requirements, and surface water and groundwater monitoring and any necessary remediation.” The historic cleanup could mean higher electricity rates for businesses in the state.

Duke has previously indicated that it will ask the state

Utilities commission to authorize a rate increase to customers rather than passing on the cost for cleaning up its sites to shareholders or through Mexico Phone Number List cuts to executive pay,” Carolina Public Press reported. In 2018, floodwaters from Hurricane Florence breached a dam at Duke Energy’s L.V. Sutton plant in North Carolina, prompting widespread concerns about a coal ash spill. A peer-reviewed study by Duke University researchers published in 2019 found evidence suggesting contamination from multiple spills in Sutton Lake, including Florence. Coal ash remains an ongoing issue in other areas as well. Early last year, bipartisan legislation.

Duke Energy Agrees to Historic Coal Ash Cleanup in North Carolina


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