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Energy & Environment

DEQ OKs Coal Ash Cleanup Plans For Duke's Allen Plant In Belmont

Coal ash belmont
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
Coal ash ponds at Duke Energy's Allen Steam Station in Belmont.

State environmental officials have approved Duke Energy's cleanup plans for coal ash pits at the Allen Steam Station in Belmont.

Plans call for digging up about 19 million tons of ash and moving it to three new lined landfills on the site. The Department of Environmental Quality says a small amount of ash that can't be removed because it's near transmission towers will be covered.

Duke's deadline for finishing the work is 2038.

Coal ash is what's left after burning coal for energy. It contains potentially cancer-causing heavy metals that can leach into groundwater.

After years of legal battles, Duke reached an agreement last year with the DEQ and community and environmental groups to dig up the ash. The company agreed to remove a total of 80 million tons of coal ash from 10 plants, including the Allen plant.

Duke supplied bottled water to neighbors of the Allen plant and other coal ash dumps and in 2017 and 2018 paid $31 million to extend public water lines or add water filters at hundreds of homes statewide.

After public hearings and reviews, permanent cleanups have now been approved at all 10 plants. DEQ previously gave the OK for closure plans at the other nine plants, including the Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman.

Related Links

Duke Energy coal ash cleanup information

https://deq.nc.gov/news/key-issues/coal-ash-excavation

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