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DENR reviewing Duke Energy's plan for coal ash contamination cleanup at Sutton plant

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources received by the July 9 deadline Duke Energy's proposed plan to control and prevent further migration of coal ash contamination at the Sutton plant in Wilmington and the utility's plan to monitor the effectiveness of its actions.

Staff with DENR will be reviewing the plan to determine if it sufficiently addresses the state's June 9 notice of regulatory requirement. The state on June 9 ordered Duke Energy to stop the continued spread of coal ash contamination in the groundwater near its Wilmington plant. Duke was given until July 9 to provide the state with a plan to stop the groundwater contamination near the Sutton plant.

A copy of DENR's June 9 press release on the notice of regulatory requirement can be found here

Updated well water testing results and information posted

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR, updated through July 7, individual results from testing conducted at public and private water supply wells near Duke Energy’s 14 coal-fired electrical generating facility boundaries.

Spreadsheet updated
The updated spreadsheet provides a detailed account of the results at each individual well where tests have been conducted, and the state has confirmed that the well owners have received the results of those tests. The spreadsheet compares the individual results of testing for coal ash-related metals and constituents with state and federal water quality thresholds, if such a threshold exists. The spreadsheet includes an additional 58 results for wells tested since the previous spreadsheet was posted June 11. These specific well test results include 20 additional wells and 38 resampling results since the June 11 update.

Well test results summary updated
DENR also updated its summary of well test results through July 7. The summary of well test results includes information on 27 additional wells since the June 11 report. The summary includes all results sent back to DENR, whereas the spreadsheet includes only results where well owner receipt has been confirmed. Thus, the summary numbers and the spreadsheet numbers are different.

Additionally, 42 resampling results have been reported for wells that previously received resample recommendations from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, or DHHS. These well results are listed on the spreadsheet in addition to the well’s original sample results and are identified with an “R” at the end of the identification of each well owner.

Health risk evaluations summary updated
DENR has updated the number of health risk evaluations that were produced by DHHS and sent them to homeowners along with the well test results. The updated summary includes information on 327 health risk evaluations that have been received by well owners.  

Updated well water testing results and information posted

Summaries of well testing/HREsEnvironment and Natural Resources, or DENR, updated on June 11 individual results from testing conducted at public and private water supply wells near Duke Energy’s 14 coal-fired electrical generating facility boundaries.

 

Spreadsheet updated
Staff members have updated the spreadsheet that provides a detailed account of the results at each individual well where tests have been conducted and the state has confirmed that the well owners have received the results of those tests. The spreadsheet compares the individual results of testing for coal ash-related metals and constituents with state and federal water quality thresholds, if such a threshold exists. The spreadsheet includes additional results for 54 wells since the May 19 spreadsheet was posted.

Well test results summary updated
DENR also updated its summary of well test results on June 11. The summary of well test results includes information on 35 additional wells since the May 19 report. The summary includes all results sent back to DENR, whereas the spreadsheet includes only results where well owner receipt has been confirmed. Thus, the summary numbers and the spreadsheet numbers are different.

Additionally, well retesting data has been posted for 19 wells that previously received resample recommendations from DHHS. These well results are listed on the spreadsheet in addition to the well’s original sample results and are identified with an “R” at the end of the well owner id listing.

Health risk evaluations summary updated
DENR has updated the number of health risk evaluations that were produced by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and sent to homeowners along with the well test results. The updated summary includes information on 230 health risk evaluations that have been received by well owners.

Updated Documents:


 

NCDENR issues permits for coal ash reuse projects

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) today issued the necessary permits and permit modification approvals that will allow coal ash reuse projects to move forward in Lee and Chatham counties.

Documents and information regarding these projects are found on the department's coal ash website. Approved structural fill and mining permits are viewable for the Colon Mine Site and Brickhaven Mine Tract "A" Site. The approved Colon Mine Site Structural Fill Permit and Cover Letter are available in addition to the approved Colon Mine Site Mining Permit and Cover Letter.  The approved Brickhaven Mine Tract "A" Structural Fill Permit and Cover Letter are also available in addition to the approved Brickhaven Mine Tract "A" Mining Permit and Cover Letter

The public comment period was open from March 23, 2015 to May 16, 2015 for the mining permits under the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources as well as the structural fill permits under the Division of Waste Management. In addition to the public comment period, people were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the state-required approvals at public hearings held April 13 in Sanford and April 16 in Pittsboro. You may view the Hearing Officer Reports for Mining Permits and Structural Fill Permits

As part of the public comment period all four draft permits were made available for public review. Both structural fill permits were modified in response to public comments received. Subsequent changes to the permit requirements include:

  • Comprehensive dust control provisions must be added to project plans.
  • A trained operator must be on site at all times.
  • The northern long-eared bat, which is native to the region, was recently listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The permittee is required to evaluate plans and make any revisions needed to comply with the act.
  • Comprehensive coal ash transport and spill response plans must be developed, approved and included in the operating plans.

Both mining permit modifications were also revised in response to public comments. Subsequent changes to the permit conditions include:

  • Statutory references for each permit condition.
  • Use of specific flocculants to reduce turbidity in the mine discharge water from the site.
  • New groundwater monitoring and sampling condition tied to the structural fill permits.
  • Clarification in a reclamation condition that coal ash is the only offsite material allowed onto the mine site.

For additional information view the June 5, 2015 NCDENR Press Release - State issues permits for coal ash reuse projects.

Well water test results update to be posted next week

The NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources will post the third round of well water testing results next week.

The first round of test results and summaries were posted May 5th, updated results were posted May 20th and the latest updates are being gathered for posting the week of June 8.

Testing and retesting of water supply wells within approximately 1,500 feet of a coal ash pond compliance boundary is underway. Third party state-certified laboratories will contact impacted well owners about the well sampling process.

This well testing is part of groundwater assessments being conducted in accordance with the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. Duke Energy is paying for the testing of all water supply wells near each of the utility's 14 coal-fired electrical generating facility boundaries.

The test results are being used to inform well owners about the quality of the water they are using, health risks and treatment options.

Many constituents that were tested in the public and private drinking water wells may be naturally occurring or unrelated to coal ash ponds.

Groundwater samples from supply wells are being collected and tested and retested where necessary, for constituents associated with coal ash, including: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, boron, cadmium, calcium, cobalt, total chromium, hexavalent chromium, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, mercury, nickel, potassium, selenium, sodium, strontium, thallium, vanadium, zinc, chloride, sulfate, pH, alkalinity, bicarbonate, carbonate, and total dissolved solids.
 

DENR Statement on Duke Energy Beginning Coal Ash Removal

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released the following statement regarding Duke Energy's announcement that it has begun excavating and removing coal ash from the retired Riverbend power plant.

“Duke Energy’s action today is a direct result of Governor McCrory and the state legislature’s aggressive approach to cleanup coal ash in North Carolina and signals the start of ensuring that all coal ash storage ponds are closed in a manner that best protects public health and the environment,” said Tom Reeder, assistant secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). “The speed at which coal ash removal began is extraordinary considering North Carolina is the first state in the nation to seek and receive federal approval for the new permits required to move coal ash. Even though this is a great first step, we won’t rest until we hold Duke Energy fully accountable for the closure of all coal ash ponds in North Carolina.”

Governor Pat McCrory issued Executive Order 62 in August 2014, which set North Carolina on a path to address the safe cleanup of coal ash statewide and provided a framework for the comprehensive Coal Ash Management Act. The Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 became law on September 20, 2014. In the eight months since its passage, the state has worked rigorously to issue the permits necessary to remove coal ash and close all ponds. DENR has worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to comply with its new coal ash permitting requirements.

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Updated well water testing results and information posted

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has posted updated results and summaries of well testing information posted earlier this month. This is the first time the well test results have been updated since the first results were posted to the DENR website April 30. Posted results are in continuation of well testing conducted earlier this year as part of a program to test wells near coal ash ponds throughout the state. 

You may view an updated summary of wells tested as of the date indicated here. You may view the updated raw data from the first round of well water testing here, which has an accompanying notes page here. Additional groundwater information in regard to coal ash can be found on the department’s well water testing page.

DENR updated its summary of well test results on May 19. The summary of well test results includes information on 44 additional wells since the April 30 report. The summary includes information about wells the state has tested. The number of additional well owners is greater than the numbers added to the spreadsheet since April 30 because the summary includes information on tests where DENR has not yet confirmed that well owners have received results.

DENR has also updated the report on the number of health risk evaluations that were produced by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and sent to homeowners along with the well test results. The updated summary includes information on 45 health risk evaluations that have been received by well owners since the first report April 30. Note: the summary of health risk evaluations was updated on May 15.

This well testing is part of groundwater assessments being conducted in accordance with the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. DENR has required that Duke Energy pay for the testing of all water supply wells near each of the utility's 14 coal-fired electrical generating facility boundaries.
The test results are being used to inform well owners about the quality of the water they are using, health risks and treatment options. This investigation is being used to guide the successful closure of the coal ash basins as directed by the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014.

For additional information about these updated results you can click here. 

Well water testing results and information posted

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has posted the results of well testing conducted earlier this year as part of a program to test wells near coal ash ponds throughout the state.

You may view a summary of wells tested as of the date indicated here. You may view the raw data from the first round of well water testing here, which has an accompanying notes page here.  Additional groundwater information in regard to coal ash can be found on the department’s well water testing page.

This well testing is part of groundwater assessments being conducted in accordance with the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014. DENR has required that Duke Energy pay for the testing of all water supply wells near each of the utility's 14 coal-fired electrical generating facility boundaries.
The test results are being used to inform well owners about the quality of the water they are using, health risks and treatment options. This investigation is being used to guide the successful closure of the coal ash basins as directed by the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014.

The first round of testing is being conducted for people who use private water supply wells and public drinking water supply wells within 1,000 feet of a coal ash storage pond. Subsequent testing will be conducted farther away from the coal ash ponds, as necessary. Well owners are able to choose from a selection of state-certified laboratories to sample water from their wells. All well testing conducted under the Coal Ash Management Act will be paid for by Duke Energy.

Many constituents that were tested in the public and private drinking water wells may be naturally occurring or unrelated to coal ash ponds.

Groundwater samples from supply wells are being collected and tested for constituents associated with coal ash, including: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, boron, cadmium, calcium, cobalt, total chromium, hexavalent chromium, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, mercury, nickel, potassium, selenium, sodium, strontium, thallium, vanadium, zinc, chloride, sulfate, pH, alkalinity, bicarbonate, carbonate, and total dissolved solids.

DENR Statement on Duke Energy's Announcement for On-Site Coal Ash Landfills

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released the following statement regarding Duke Energy's announcement that it would be building fully lined coal ash landfills at its Dan River and Sutton Plants: 

The plans Duke Energy announced today for the Sutton and Dan River ash basins are consistent with the excavation plans they submitted to us in November and with the comments we sent back to them. In order to reduce the environmental threat to our waterways and groundwater, we hope the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will act quickly on the discharge permits they are reviewing. We cannot move forward with this process until that review is complete.

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Coal Ash Press Releases and Advisories

June 5, 2015 NCDENR Press Release - State issues permits for coal ash reuse projects.

June 2, 2015 - State cites companies with permit violations at proposed coal ash reuse project site

May 29, 2015 - State investigating possible environmental violations at proposed coal ash reuse site

May 15, 2015 - Stormwater permits issued today represent critical step to close coal ash ponds

April 21, 2015 - Most results from drinking well tests show exceedences of state groundwater standards near coal ash ponds

April 15, 2015 - Residents near coal ash ponds to receive results of drinking water well tests, health evaluations

April 10, 2015 - State environmental agency to host public hearings on coal ash reuse projects

April 6, 2015 - MEDIA ADVISORY: Public hearing on draft environmental permits near coal ash ponds

March 23, 2015 - State environmental agency opens public comment period on coal ash reuse permits

March 12, 2015 - Public comment period starts on proposed stream and wetlands impacts for coal ash reuse projects

March 10, 2015 - State fines Duke Energy Progress a record $25.1 million for coal ash contamination at Sutton Plant

March 6, 2015 - State agency drafts permits to better protect water quality near coal ash ponds until closure plans are approved

February 25, 2015 - State continues pursuit of coal ash contamination issues at Asheville Plant

January 30, 2015 - One year later, Dan River continues successful recovery

January 29, 2015 - MEDIA ADVISORY: DENR Secretary and staff to sample Dan River nearly one year after coal ash spill

December 19, 2014 - Expanding energy opportunities and cleaning up coal ash are among top 2014 news items for state agency

December 17, 2014 - Letters from state invite residents near Duke Energy coal ash impoundments to have water tested

December 11, 2014 - Regulators authorize repairs to dam structure at Duke Energy coal ash impoundment

November 26, 2014 - State receives permit applications for reuse of coal ash at two clay mines

November 24, 2014 - Insects in Dan River downstream of Feb. 2 coal ash spill appear to be thriving, state tests show

November 18, 2014 - State environmental committee to meet next week in Charlotte on rules for reusing coal ash

November 11, 2014 - CORREX: State's reclassification of cooling pond means more environmental protections, dam inspections

Novemeber 6, 2014 - State directs Duke Energy to resubmit groundwater plans for coal ash facilities

October 18, 2014 - Drinking water receptor survey shows wells near Duke Energy coal ash facilities

Sept. 30 - Duke Energy submits plans for groundwater assessment at coal ash facilities

Sept. 3 - State raises hazard classification at coal ash dams in Lumberton

Aug. 28, 2:42 p.m. - State environmental agency details actions on coal ash in letter to citizens group

Aug. 13, 12:04 p.m. - DENR requires Duke Energy to address coal ash issues

July 10 - State issues operating permit for first phase of coal ash landfill in Person County

June 26, 3:45 p.m. - State orders Duke Energy to address final set of pipe systems at coal ash facilities 
June 18, 11:53 a.m. - State orders utility to address more piping systems at coal ash dams 
June 16, 2:49 p.m. - State orders Duke Energy to submit repair plans for leaking pipes near coal ash facilities
Mar. 28, 3:00 p.m. - State regulators cite Duke Energy for dam deficiencies at Cape Fear plant
Mar. 25, 3:34 p.m. - Crack in earthen dam at Cape Fear power plant fixed, state reports
Mar. 21, 4:41 p.m. - State environmental agency, EPA to pursue joint approach to coal ash clean-up
Mar. 21, 3:34 p.m. - State environmental agency asks to withdraw from consent order with Duke Energy, maintains lawsuit
Mar. 21, 2:08 p.m. - DENR approves emergency response plan to address crack in earthen dam at coal ash impoundment
Mar. 20, 5:51 p.m. - State regulators responding to report of crack in earthen dam at Duke Energy facility   
Mar. 20, 1:39 p.m. - DENR taking action against Duke Energy for violations of wastewater permit at Cape Fear plant
Mar. 18, 3:57 p.m. - Testing of latest water quality samples near coal ash spill similar to earlier results
Mar. 14, 2:26 p.m. - State environmental agency takes action to address deficiencies at three coal ash facilities
Mar. 13, 4:19 p.m. - State environmental agency demands more answers from Duke Energy
Mar. 7, 4:01 p.m. - State regulators release water quality test results from additional Dan River spill location
Mar. 6, 3:29 p.m. - NCDENR's statement on today's ash pond ruling
Mar. 6, 2:36 p.m. - DENR cites Duke Energy for dam deficiencies, requests repair schedule
Mar. 5, 1:09 p.m. State regulators to request plans, video of pipes at coal ash facilities and announce inspections
Mar. 4, 3:58 p.m. - Dam safety inspection at Cliffside Plant; further monitoring results from the Dan River
Mar. 3, 12:25 p.m. - State issues notices of violation for five more Duke Energy plants
Feb. 28, 4:56 p.m. - State agency issues violation notices, enforcement recommendations to Duke Energy for coal ash spill
Feb. 28, 3:38 p.m. - DENR responding to discharge from pipe at Duke Energy power plant in Rutherford County
Feb. 27, 2:45 p.m. - Latest update on Dan River coal ash spill activities
Feb. 25, 2:51 p.m. - State environmental agency considers requiring Duke Energy to move coal ash from Dan river site
Feb. 24, 4:23 p.m. - State environmental officials start sampling fish tissue near Dan River coal ash spill site
Feb. 21, 4:13 p.m. - Aluminum and iron still exceed surface water quality standards near coal ash spill site
Feb. 18, 5:06 p.m. - DENR orders Duke Energy to halt discharges from second pipe under coal ash basin
Feb. 18, 12:44 p.m. - MEDIA ALERT: State environmental agency to hold briefing for news media 
Feb. 17, 5:25 p.m. - State environmental agency starts water quality sampling at John H. Kerr Reservoir
Feb. 14, 7:20 p.m. - State probing structural integrity of second pipe under Dan River coal ash pond 
Feb. 13, 4:40 p.m. - State environmental agency investigating wastewater discharge at site of coal ash spill
Feb. 12, 4:16 p.m. State releases additional water quality test results from Dan River coal ash spill
Feb. 11, 11:43 a.m. - State regulators outline action on coal ash ponds
Feb. 9, 2:24 p.m. - State regulators clarify reports on arsenic test results near coal ash spill
Feb. 7, 7:38 p.m. - DENR releases remaining test results from water quality sampling near coal ash spill
Feb. 6, 6:59 p.m. - State test results of water quality sampling near coal ash spill released
Feb. 6, 4:41 p.m. - Governor McCrory Directs Duke Energy to Bring Coal Ash Spill Under Control
Feb. 5, 6:23 p.m. - DENR expects water sampling results from river near coal ash spill this week
Feb. 4, 5:53 p.m. - DENR releases initial water test results from Duke Energy coal ash spill
Feb. 4, 9:04 a.m. - DENR Secretary Skvarla heading to Eden, as agency staff members work with Duke Energy to control coal ash spill
Feb. 3, 5:32 p.m. - DENR staff working with utility at site of Dan River spill in Rockingham County


N.C. DHHS Health Advisories for the Dan River

Feb. 12 Health Advisory

 

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