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Duke Energy proposes on-site coal ash landfill

News | December 22, 2015 | By:

  • Fully lined facility will provide permanent storage solution for remaining coal ash at W.S. Lee Station in Belton, S.C.
  • Duke will continue transporting coal ash to Homer, Ga., as part of initial work.
  • Continued progress moving ash from six other coal plants in the Carolinas.

Duke Energy Carolinas issued a press release last week stating that it has started the permitting process “to safely manage coal ash at the W.S. Lee Station in Belton, S.C., by constructing a fully lined on-site landfill.”

The release said that the new landfill will be located on existing Lee Station property and will provide a permanent storage solution for approximately 2.2 million tons of coal ash remaining at the site. Duke had announced in 2014 its intention to excavate coal ash from two ash basins and a structural fill area on the Lee property.

According to the press release, the new landfill “will feature multiple layers of synthetic and natural barriers.” Coal ash will be stored dry in the landfill with a protective capping system installed on top, containing the ash and separating it from surrounding soil and groundwater.

“This proposed landfill continues to advance our strategy to safely close ash basins and manage coal ash across our service area,” said John Elnitsky, Duke Energy senior vice president of ash basin strategy. “Our preference is to store coal ash at or near our plant sites, when possible. This landfill will reduce impacts to the local community and will provide a safe and efficient solution for the permanent storage of the remaining ash at the W.S. Lee Station.”

The release noted that “extensive groundwater monitoring will ensure the landfill operates as designed and the local environment remains protected.”

“Our first priority is ensuring the continued safety of our neighbors and our environment,” said Elnitsky. “We’re using a science-based plan, industry-proven technology and advanced engineering to site and construct this fully lined landfill.”

Duke Energy is currently excavating about 1.4 million tons of coal ash from one inactive ash basin and an ash fill area at the W.S. Lee site and transporting the material to a fully lined landfill in Homer, Ga. This work, currently under way, will manage approximately 44% of the coal ash at the Lee site.

In addition to the coal ash management at W.S. Lee, the company is also constructing a combined-cycle natural gas plant expected to be operational in 2017. The original steam plant continues to operate one unit powered by natural gas.

The press release continued: [Duke Energy] “continues to make progress toward safely closing ash basins across the Carolinas. The company is currently moving ash at the Asheville Plant, Dan River Steam Station, Riverbend Steam Station, Rogers Energy Complex (formerly Cliffside Steam Station), Sutton Plant and W.S. Lee Steam Station to a variety of approved on- and off-site fully lined storage solutions.”

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