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Ash Management

Our ash management plan

We are modernizing our generation fleet - transitioning to cleaner, more efficient energy sources. As part of this plan, we place a high priority on closing ash basins across the fleet once they are no longer needed. We are taking another look at our coal ash management and basin closure plans as a result of the event at our retired Dan River Steam Station after a broken stormwater pipe released coal ash into the river.

We have initiated a near-term engineering review of the ash basins to identify and address potential risks. In addition, a team is focusing its expertise and energy on identifying ways to strengthen the comprehensive ash management plan. Elements of the plan are included in the chart below.

All coal plant sites

We have initiated a near-term engineering review of the ash basins to identify and address potential risks. In addition, we are developing a comprehensive longer-term ash basin strategy including a review of the effectiveness of ash storage management and practices.

Retired coal plant sites

Scope of work: Accelerate ash pond water removal at all retired coal plants to minimize the potential risk of a discharge similar to the one that occurred at Dan River. We continue to evaluate the most appropriate way to close the ash basins at retired sites.

Timeframe: The water removal work would be completed within 24 to 36 months after receiving the required permits.

Map of coal plant sites.

Dan River Response

Would you like more information about the Dan River response effort, water quality and well testing?

Learn More

About coal ash and ash basins

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 37 percent of all electricity generated in the United States comes from coal. All coal naturally contains inorganic matter from the rocks and minerals in the coal seam where it was mined.

Coal-fired power plants burn coal to make steam, and the steam turns turbines to generate electricity. When that coal is burned, the inorganic matter in the coal becomes coal ash.

Learn more about the types, storage and reuse of coal ash.

Retired Dan River Plant
Eden, NC

Scope of work: Permanently close the Dan River ash ponds and move ash away from the river for use as lined structural fill or to a lined landfill.

Timeframe: This work would start immediately upon confirming the destination for the ash and securing the necessary permits. Once those details are in place, we would expect to complete this work within 24 to 30 months.

Asheville Plant
Asheville, NC

Scope of work: Continue moving ash from the site to a lined structural fill and look for similar ash reuse opportunities where allowed under upcoming coal ash regulations. We will also either convert to dry fly ash management or retire the units.

Timeframe: If the conversion to dry fly ash option is selected, this work would be completed within 30 to 36 months of receiving the necessary permits.

Cliffside Plant
Mooresboro, NC

Scope of work: Convert unit 5 to dry fly ash management or retire the unit.

Timeframe: If the conversion to dry fly ash option is selected, this work would be completed within 30 to 36 months of receiving the necessary permits.

Retired Riverbend Plant
Mount Holly, NC

Scope of work: Move all ash from the retired plant away from the Catawba River. Like Dan River, we would seek to find a lined structural fill opportunity or a lined landfill for the ash.

Timeframe: Upon confirming the destination for the ash and receiving the proper permits, we would expect to complete this work within 48 to 54 months.

Retired Sutton Plant
Wilmington, NC

Scope of work: Accelerate planning and closure of the ash ponds at the retired coal-fired plant. We will evaluate the possibility of using the ash from this site as lined structural fill, as well as other options.

Timeframe: We will submit a conceptual ash basin closure plan to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) within six months.

We will look for similar ash reuse opportunities where allowed under upcoming coal ash regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. Implementing these near-term recommendations and longer-term plans depends on state and federal agreement that these are prudent, cost-effective and environmentally sound options.

For more than a century, the company has provided reliable and affordable electricity to our customers. Coal-fired power plants produced a good portion of that electricity. Throughout that time, Duke Energy has managed ash basins using industry standard technology and monitoring practices. The continued safe operation of ash basins is a top priority.