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DENR urges EPA to expedite permit review

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today sent a letter in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request for a 90-day extension on the review period for draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for coal ash facilities in North Carolina. The letter asks that the EPA complete its review of the permit within the 60-day public comment period, if possible, which closes May 5.

DENR has proposed modifying existing permits for wastewater discharges as part of the permit renewal process for the Allen, Marshall and Riverbend coal ash facilities near Charlotte. The state is modifying the discharge permits to ensure that existing discharges, some of which are necessary to ensure the integrity of the dams at the coal ash ponds, do not compromise the water quality in lakes and rivers. DENR worked with the EPA to develop the proposed permits to certify that all discharges are properly monitored and sampled to ensure the protection of water quality.

By law, the state has required that all coal ash ponds in North Carolina be closed and all discharges from those ponds eliminated. The proposed modified permits are necessary to relieve pressure on the dams, reduce the hydraulic head on groundwater, and allow for the decanting and dewatering of the coal ash ponds in preparation for ash excavation. The permit review extension requested by the EPA could affect the utilities' ability to excavate ash.

Coal Ash Update to House Environment Committee

 RALEIGH -- Assistant Secretary Tom Reeder presented an update on coal ash management to the N.C. House of Representatives' Committee on the Environment today. Click here to view the presentation.

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Statement on federal criminal charges against Duke Energy

DENR statement on the criminal charges filed against Duke Energy companies on Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice:

DENR is pleased to see that the U.S. Department of Justice has conducted a thorough investigation into environmental crimes committed by Duke Energy, and that several of the criminal counts against Duke Energy are consistent with the allegations contained in DENR’s civil lawsuits filed against the utility in 2013.

Again, the department would like to point out that this proposed settlement would not resolve DENR’s civil litigation over violations at coal ash ponds, which is ongoing. We also continue to investigate violations of state groundwater standards and to maintain our enforcement partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for civil violations of the Clean Water Act.

Finally, we note that any settlement would not relieve Duke Energy of any obligations under the state’s Coal Ash Management Act.

DENR statement on Duke Energy SEC filing

On Feb. 18, DENR issued a statement following Duke Energy's earnings report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

DENR is not part of any negotiations with the utility or federal authorities for settlement of the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation.

However, the department would like to point out that this settlement would not resolve DENR’s civil litigation over violations at coal ash ponds, which is ongoing. We also continue to investigate violations of state groundwater standards and to maintain our enforcement partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for civil violations of the Clean Water Act.

Finally, we note that any settlement would not relieve Duke Energy of any obligations under the state’s Coal Ash Management Act.

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Coal Ash Update Document

UPDATED 2/18/2015 WITH CORRECTED LINK

(Feb. 16, 2015) -- The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has two new staff members starting soon: a new general counsel and a new legislative liaison. In preparation for bring them up to speed on coal ash matters, the department created a document entitled "Coal Ash Management at the  N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources." 
 
Click here to access the document.
 
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Agenda for Nov. 24, 2014 Beneficial Reuse of Coal Ash Ad Hoc Committee

 

 

 

MEETING AGENDA


BENEFICIAL REUSE OF COAL ASH AD HOC COMMITTEE


ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION

 

UNC Charlotte Campus Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) Room 3344

 

 

November 24, 2014
10:00 a.m.

 


General Statute §138-15 mandates that the Chairman inquire as to whether any member knows of any known conflict of interest or appearance of conflict with respect to matters before the Environmental Management Commission’s Beneficial Reuse of Coal Ash ad hoc Committee. If so, please state at this time.

 

Dr. Albert Rubin, Chairman Presiding

I. Preliminary Matters

1. Welcome- Dr. John Daniels (Professor and Chair Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering UNCC)
(10:00-10:15 am)

2. Call to Order and Notice of N.C.G.S. § 138A-15……………………Chairman Dr. Bob Rubin

II. Information Items (Morning Session)

1. Statutory Purpose and Scope of Ad Hoc Committee ……………….Chairman Dr. Bob Rubin

Attachment A – Session Law 2014-122, Part III, Section 4.(d)

Attachment B – Session Law 2014-122, Part III, Section 3.(a)

 

 

2. Committee’s Actions and Schedule ………………………………........…Chairman Dr. Bob Rubin

 

 

3. Available Information on Beneficial Reuse of Coal Ash …………...Chairman Dr. Bob Rubin

(10:15-10:30am)

 

 

4. Dr. John Daniels- Research results and research needs related to coal ash management in NC

(10:30-11:15am)

 

 

5. NC regulatory requirements for coal ash (NC DENR Division of Water Resources)

Jon Risgaard, NC Division of Water Resources, Supervisor Non-discharge Permitting Unit

(11:15- 11:30 am)

 

6. Coal Ash Research at the NCSU Minerals Research Laboratory- Dr. Robert Mensah-Biney, Senior Mineral Processing Engineer, North Carolina State Minerals Research Laboratory, Asheville, NC

(11:30-12:00 pm)

 

Lunch (12:00-12:30 pm)

 

Afternoon Session

1.    Danny Turner (North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Seed and Fertilizer Administrator)

Fertilizer and Soil Amendment Requirements in North Carolina

(12:30-12:45 pm)

 

 

2.    Ellen Lorscheider, Coal Combustion By-Products Quantities Produced and Disposed overview

(12:45-1:00 pm)

 

 

3.    Panel Discussion (Topic 1: Discussion of current NC structural fill requirements, Topic 2: Discussion of other beneficial uses of coal ash and current rules, Topic 3; Discussion of additional opportunities for coal ash, Topic 4: Discussion regarding the US EPA regarding the use of coal combustion products as structural fill or other beneficial uses

(1:00-2:30pm)

 

III. Closing Remarks…………………………………………………………......................Chairman Dr. Bob Rubin

This is a public meeting. Because space is limited, the meeting will be available via webinar. The following instructions will guide you if you would like to follow the meeting by webinar:

 

Beneficial Reuse Meeting

Monday, November 24, 2014

10:00 am  |  Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)  |  4 hr

 

 

 

Join WebEx meeting

 

Meeting number:

738 324 695

Meeting password:

BRM123

 

 

 

Join by phone

+1-415-655-0003 US TOLL

Access code: 738 324 695

 

 

 

Add this meeting to your calendar.

 

 

 

Can't join the meeting? Contact support.

 

State directs Duke Energy to resubmit groundwater plans for coal ash facilities

State officials this week directed Duke Energy to resubmit its plans for assessing groundwater at North Carolina’s 14 coal ash facilities because the plans the company submitted to the state in September are inadequate. 

The N.C. Division of Water Resources requested in August that the company submit groundwater assessment work plans for all 14 of its coal ash facilities in North Carolina. As outlined in the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, the groundwater assessments will play a key role in helping the state determine the priority classifications for cleaning up the coal ash facilities.  

State water resources officials received Duke’s groundwater assessment work plans on Sept. 26, about three weeks before the state-imposed deadline. But after reviewing the plans, state officials determined that the plans were inadequate and sent the company a series of letters Wednesday detailing what Duke Energy must do before resubmitting work plans for all of its facilities. Revised plans are due within 30 days. 

“The plan as submitted fails to provide an adequate level of detail regarding the planned assessment activities, which if left unchanged may lead to an inadequate assessment of environmental conditions at the site,” Jay Zimmerman, a section chief in the state agency, wrote to Harry K. Sideris, a senior vice president at Duke Energy about the coal ash facilities at the Asheville Steam Electric Plant. 

The letters address issues at all of Duke’s facilities as well as items specific to individual facilities. At all the facilities, Duke must develop better models for collecting data about groundwater contamination and determine the extent, types and movement of contamination at the facilities, the letters state. The letters request Duke to propose additional field work, including borings, cores and well installations, necessary to characterize and develop an accurate understanding of the subsurface conditions that affect groundwater flow as well as how and where contaminants move. Also, Duke’s original plans do not have sufficient information on surface water and bed sediment sampling, each letter states.

“The Division expects base flow surface water and bed sediment sampling to be included in the site assessment and the GAP (groundwater assessment plan),” the letter states. “These data will provide information on surface water quality and will be useful in efforts to understand the interaction of ground and surface water at the site.”

Copies of the state’s letters can be found at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq//coal_ash_gw_assessment_plans.    

Dan River Coal Ash Spill Trustees Seek Public Input on Scoping Document for Restoration Planning

The natural resource trustees for the February 2, 2014 Dan River coal ash spill (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality) are seeking public review and comment on potential restoration opportunities in the Dan River watershed area.

The Dan River Scoping Document for Restoration Planning was released today to enable the public to review it and provide ideas to restore the river. The scoping document also includes information on the spill, the potential natural resource injuries resulting from the spill, restoration project concepts for the resources affected by the spill, and an explanation of the restoration planning process. Review of the projects described in the scoping document is intended to promote public and stakeholder engagement early in restoration planning.

Background

In June, the natural resource trustees entered into a cooperative Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) process with Duke Energy, the party responsible for the Dan River coal ash spill. As part of the cooperative NRDAR, the trustees assess the impacts of the coal ash pond release on natural resources, focusing on injuries to habitat, surface water and sediment, aquatic species, migratory birds, and human uses of those resources.

The primary goal of NRDAR is to restore natural resources and the services they provide. To meet this goal, the trustees recover funds to implement and/or oversee restoration projects. Restoration activities, such as restoring, protecting, or enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitat and improving public use and access to natural resources, address the injuries resulting from the release of hazardous substances.

NRDAR does not address and the trustees do not recover funds to offset economic injuries resulting from the release, such as damage to personal property or commercial interests.

Written comments are encouraged. Comments on this scoping document and the proposed restoration project concepts described in this document and/or any additional restoration proposals are requested to be submitted to the agency contacts below by November 14, 2014:

Please contact Sara Ward, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office, 919856 4520 Ext. 30, Sara_Ward@fws.gov, or Susan Lingenfelser, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Virginia Ecological Services Field Office, 8048242415,
Susan_Lingenfelser@fws.gov.


Quotes:

“This process helps us understand the release impacts and how to offset those injuries through targeted restoration,” said Linda Culpepper, Director of the Division of Waste Management at the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  

“Public involvement in the restoration planning process is vital to provide local perspective on
meaningful ways to restore the Dan River’s natural resources and the public’s enjoyment of them”, said David K. Paylor, Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

“As trustees we want to “cast a wide net” when searching for restoration opportunities and public
comments are central to that process,” said Sara Ward, case manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

What are the next steps for the Dan River NRDAR?

The trustees will develop a damage assessment plan for public review that summarizes the approach to determine injuries resulting from the coal ash spill to the Dan River’s natural resources and the public’s use of those resources. At the same time, the trustees will review public feedback on the restoration scoping document and work with Duke Energy to restore or replace natural resources and/or seek compensation from Duke Energy to carry out restoration activities.

What type of information is helpful for the public to provide the trustees to advance

restoration planning?

For any restoration projects or proposals submitted to the trustees, please include details about how the project addresses natural resource or service injuries, estimated project costs, anticipated benefits to natural resources or resource services, implementation timing and readiness, and the potential to benefit more than one natural resource/service.

For more about the NRDAR:

NRDAR: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ecologicalservices/nrdarprocess.html

FAQs: http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/Info/FAQsNRDA.cfm


Media Contacts:

Tom MacKenzie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region External Affairs, (m)

6782966400,

Tom_MacKenzie@fws.gov

Meagan Racey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region External Affairs, (o) 4132538558,

(m) 4136584386,

Meagan_Racey@fws.gov

 

 

Duke Energy submits plans for groundwater assessment at coal ash facilities

Duke Energy has provided state officials with its plans for assessing groundwater quality at the utility’s 14 coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. 

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources required Duke Energy to submit Groundwater Assessment Plans as part of the effort to cleanup or mitigate groundwater contamination at the utility’s coal ash storage ponds. The company met Friday’s deadline for submitting the plans to the state agency. 

The plans include proposed site assessment activities and a schedule for implementation, completion and submission of a comprehensive site assessment report for each of the facilities. The reports are required to provide information concerning:

·         the source and cause of contamination; any imminent hazards to public health and safety and actions taken to mitigate them;

·         the location of drinking water wells and other significant receptors where people could be exposed to groundwater contamination;

·         the horizontal and vertical extent of soil and groundwater contamination and significant factors that affect how the pollution moves;

·         geological and hydrogeological features that affect the movement as well as the chemical and physical characteristics of the contaminants.

The Groundwater Assessment Plans are the first step in identifying and putting in place corrective action for groundwater and surface water contamination from activities associated with the coal ash byproducts generated by the coal-burning power facilities.

Staff with the N.C. Division of Water Resources, a program in the state environmental agency, will review the plans and approve them or provide Duke Energy with a deadline to correct any deficiencies. Duke Energy must start working on its assessment plans within 10 days of being notified of their approval.

For each approved plan, the utility will have 180 days to provide the state with a report describing all exceedances of groundwater quality standards associated with each coal ash storage pond.

The assessment plans have been placed online and can be found at the following link on DENR’s website devoted to coal ash: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq//coal_ash_gw_assessment_plans. 

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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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