In South Carolina, Coal Ash Clean-Up Ahead Of Schedule
While North Carolina is ramping up to close coal ash ponds around the state, removal is already underway in South Carolina, and—at one site—ahead of schedule.
South Carolina electric utility Santee Cooper entered a settlement with environmental groups in 2013, to get its coal ash—which can contain arsenic and lead—out of storage ponds near public waters.
Santee Cooper has until 2023 to remove about 1.3 million tons of ash from its Grainger coal plant near Myrtle Beach. But a report to environmental groups this month shows the utility is ahead of schedule—it removed more than a tenth of the ash in just its first ten months. A Santee Cooper spokesperson says the utility is on pace to have the ash removed as much as three years early.
Environmental groups praised Santee Cooper’s progress and called on Duke Energy to similarly move coal ash in North Carolina. A state law passed last year requires removal of coal ash from at least some plants. Duke has criticized the timelines as too aggressive. At some sites, the company has to remove three times as much coal ash as its South Carolina counterpart, in half the time.