Moved from riverside lagoons to a lined landfill.
According to a report issued by South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G), the utility company says it has removed almost 500,000 tons of coal ash from its coal ash lagoons on the banks of the Catawba-Wateree River near Columbia, S.C.
In 2012, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) brought a lawsuit against SCE&G, on behalf of the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, seeking removal of the ash. The coal ash removal is required by the voluntary settlement of that litigation, according to a SELC press release.
The coal ash is being moved to a modern, lined landfill away from the river on the site of an SCE&G facility, where it is stored dry. SCE&G described its coal ash progress in a semi-annual report for the period ending June 30, 2014.
“SCE&G is moving quickly to remove coal ash that threatens the Catawba-Wateree River and the Congaree National Park just 3 miles downstream,” said Frank Holleman, a SELC senior attorney. “Upstream, Duke Energy stores coal ash on three locations along the Catawba River and on rivers throughout North and South Carolina. Duke Energy should be removing its coal ash today, like SCE&G, instead of hiring lobbyists and lawyers and fighting to keep its coal ash in place.”
The SELC press release noted that SCE&G’s coal ash removal is ahead of schedule. Under the settlement, SCE&G is required to remove 240,000 tons by January 2015. The June SCE&G report said it has now removed twice that amount. The Catawba-Wateree lagoons had 2.4 million tons of coal ash in them when the removal began.
“With the prompt cleanup, this stretch of the Catawba-Wateree River is progressively less likely to see a disaster like that at Dan River,” said Sam Perkins of Catawba Riverkeeper. “There is no reason that Duke Energy, with worlds more resources, cannot do the same.”