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Ash Management

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  • Strengthening the safety of coal ash operations

    Strengthening the safety
    of coal ash operations

    Learn more from N.C. State
    President Paul Newton.

    Video

  • Scientific solutions

    Duke Energy is focused
    on finding safe, smart options
    for the communities we serve

    Learn more

  • Asheville Regional Airport shows how ash can be safely recycledIt prob

    Asheville Regional Airport shows how
    ash can be safely recycled

    Video

Dan River Response

Learn more about the Dan River response effort as well as water quality, cleanup work and ongoing monitoring of the river.

Protecting Public Health & Safety

Duke Energy is committed to operational excellence and protecting the environment and public health and safety.

The Truth About Toxicity

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has evaluated coal ash extensively and has repeatedly determined that it is not a hazardous waste. The results of another EPA evaluation are due December 2014. Even if you come into contact with ash, studies show you have to ingest large amounts to potentially experience adverse effects.

Water Quality

We routinely monitor water quality and fisheries' health near our ash ponds to ensure the environment is protected. This Q&A document outlines the differences between groundwater, stormwater, surface water and drinking water, and it describes how each is monitored.

Dam Safety

Duke Energy's dam safety program includes regular dam inspections by company engineers and external experts, operations and maintenance procedures that meet state and federal regulations and ensuring personnel are trained to respond in the unlikely event of an emergency.

About Coal Ash

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. For decades, utilities across the nation have stored that ash in basins.

  • How Coal Plants Work

    In a coal-fired steam station, water is turned into steam, which in turn drives turbine generators to produce electricity. Here's an overview of how the process works.

  • Coal Ash 101

    Coal plants have been generating electricity for decades. Ash is a byproduct of the coal-burning process. Learn more about the types, safe storage and reuse of coal ash.

Our Plans

We are modernizing our generation fleet retiring old coal units and transitioning to cleaner, more efficient energy sources. As part of this plan, we place a high priority on closing ash basins once they are no longer needed.

Ash Management

We are developing a comprehensive long-term ash basin strategy to close basins and safely manage ash. We're using a fact-based and scientific approach to identify options that protect groundwater and the environment, are good for the communities around our sites and meet regulatory requirements.

Comprehensive Plan for N.C.

We are taking another look at our coal ash management and basin closure plans in North Carolina as a result of the event at our retired Dan River Steam Station where a broken stormwater pipe released coal ash into the river. Learn more about our response to that event.

In March, Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good submitted a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory outlining Duke Energy's ash management plans for this state. We are adapting this plan to meet legislation recently approved in North Carolina.

Closure Strategies

Duke Energy is using a fact-based scientific approach to closing our ash basins. Options include recycling the ash for concrete or some other beneficial use, gradually removing the water from the basins and capping the ash with a synthetic barrier, or excavating and relocating the ash to a lined structural fill or lined landfill.

Conditions at each site are unique. We believe the most effective solution is customized to the site and based on sound science and engineering. We've engaged some of the best experts in the country to assist with closure planning. Their work includes exploring soils, groundwater, geology, structural integrity and many other aspects. These evaluations will help us understand if groundwater would be well protected through a synthetic capping system or if excavation is a better solution. There may be occasions where we use a combination of excavation and capping as well. Any solution we recommend will meet state and federal regulations.

Plant Locations & Information

Roll over a plant icon with a number to see our current ash management plan for that location. Comprehensive plans for all ash basins in all our states are being developed and we will provide updates as soon as they are available.

  • Operating Plant Sites
  • Retired Plant Sites

Retired Dan River Plant

Eden, NC

Scope of work: Permanently close the Dan River ash ponds by excavating and relocating material to a lined structural fill or landfill.

Timeframe: This work would start immediately upon confirming the destination for the ash and securing the necessary approvals. North Carolina passed a law in August 2014 giving this work a deadline of Aug. 1, 2019.

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 coal ash regulations. We will permanently close the Asheville ash ponds by excavating and relocating material to a lined structural fill or landfill.

Timeframe: North Carolina passed a law in August 2014 giving this work a deadline of Aug. 1, 2019.

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: Permanently close the Riverbend ash ponds by excavating and relocating material to a lined structural fill or landfill.

Timeframe: North Carolina passed a law in August 2014 giving this work a deadline of Aug. 1, 2019.

Retired Sutton Plant

Wilmington, NC

Scope of work: Permanently close the Sutton ash ponds by excavating and relocating material to a lined structural fill or landfill.

Timeframe: North Carolina passed a law in August 2014 giving this work a deadline of Aug. 1, 2019.

Video & Images

View videos and see pictures related to ash management at Duke Energy. More will be added as they are available.

News Center

Article Category Date
Effluent Limitation Guidelines: Proposed Rule Resource
Federal Regulation of Coal Ash Resource
Coal Ash in North Carolina Resource
Duke Energy Ash Basins Fleetwide Resource
Duke Energy-U.S. EPA agreement on cleanup of Dan River coal ash release Resource 05/22/2014
UNCC Op-ed: How to Approach the Coal Ash Problem Resource 05/03/2014
Coal plant decommissioning and demolition program Related Link
Building new generation Related Link
N.C. Coal Ash Management Act of 2014 Related Link
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Related Link
Duke Energy CEO: Work on coal ash management will continue News Release 08/01/2014
Duke Energy taking action based on pipe inspection reports at its North Carolina coal plants News Release 06/16/2014
Dan River natural resources agreement between Duke Energy, three government agencies Resource 06/09/2014
Duke Energy-U.S. EPA agreement on cleanup of Dan River coal ash release News Release 05/22/2014
Paul Newton's presentation to the NC General Assembly's Environmental Review Commission Transcript 04/22/2014
Paul Newton's presentation to the NC General Assembly's Environmental Review Commission (pdf) Investor Information 04/22/2014
Duke Energy updates N.C. legislative commission on coal ash News Release 04/22/2014
North Carolina Coal Ash Plan Cost Estimate Comparisons Investor Information 04/22/2014
Duke-Glass Lewis Conference Call Presentation Investor Information 04/21/2014
Duke-Glass Lewis Conference Call Transcript Transcript
Investor Information
04/21/2014
Response letter to Nathan Cummings Foundation Investor Information 04/14/2014
Lynn Good's speech at Hood Hargett luncheon Transcript 04/02/2014
Lynn Good discusses coal ash at Hood Hargett luncheon News Release 04/02/2014
Duke Energy update on ash basin management efforts News Release 03/26/2014
Lynn Good's open letter to the citizens of North Carolina News Release 03/23/2014
Lynn Good's letter to the Governor News Release 03/12/2014
Duke Energy enhances its coal ash management operations News Release 10/01/2014
Duke Energy creates $10 million Water Resources Fund for waterways in the Carolinas and neighboring states News Release 09/24/2014
Duke Energy charts path forward for W.S. Lee Plant ash management News Release 09/23/2014

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