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Ash Management

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  • Asheville Regional Airport shows how ash can be safely recycled

    Beneficially reusing and recycling coal ash

    Learn More

  • Advancing plans to safely excavate and remove coal ash

    Advancing plans to safely
    excavate and remove coal ash

    Site-specific plans for first plants
    now available

    Learn More

  • Strengthening the safety of coal ash operations

    Strengthening the safety
    of coal ash operations

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

    Video

Our Progress

What we're doing to advance ash management practices across our system.

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Dan River Response

Our response effort, water quality, cleanup work, and ongoing monitoring of the river.

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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.

In March 2014, Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good submitted a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory outlining Duke Energy's approach to permanently close basins and safely store coal ash generated from our North Carolina power plants.

We have updated these plans to comply with North Carolinaís Coal Ash Management Act, which became law Sept. 20, 2014. This law establishes aggressive deadlines for basin closure, calls for comprehensive groundwater assessments and creates a new Coal Ash Management Commission to govern the closure of ash ponds across the state.

As we have site-specific plans available, we will post them in the Plant Location & Information section below.

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.

Beneficial Reuse & Recycling

Duke Energy is committed to the safe, economic and beneficial reuse of coal ash. In 2013, we recycled nearly two-thirds of the ash we produced. Itís used in making concrete or as a structural fill material instead of dirt. Our plans include safely using coal ash to reclaim open-pit clay mines and as structural fill for a project at the Asheville Regional Airport.

Fly ash can also be reused as a valuable ingredient in a wide range of concrete products, including roads and bridges. Bottom ash can be used as an aggregate to replace sand and gravel and in the production of concrete blocks. Additional uses for coal ash include constructing embankments and for cement production.

Research is ongoing into potential reuse applications for coal ash, and we are exploring the use of technology that burns residual carbon out of the coal ash making it more suitable for concrete production. We will continue exploring opportunities to beneficially reuse coal ash as part of our closure planning strategy.

Plant Locations & Information

Click a plant icon to see our current ash management plan for that location. Excavation plans for the Asheville, Dan River, Riverbend, Sutton and W.S. Lee (S.C.) plants are available now. 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
  • Reuse & Recycling Projects

Retired Dan River Plant

Eden, NC

Scope of work: Permanently close the Dan River ash ponds, excavate ash from the site and beneficially reuse the material or relocate it 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.

Learn More

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, excavate ash from the site and beneficially reuse the material or relocate it 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, excavate ash from the site and beneficially reuse the material or relocate it 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.

Airport Project

Asheville, NC

Scope of work: Coal ash from the Asheville Plant has been transported to the Asheville Regional Airport since 2007 for a permitted, lined structural fill project. Remaining ash from the site will continue to be transported to the airport for beneficial reuse opportunities.

Sanford Mine

Sanford, NC

Scope of work: Coal ash will be transported by rail and used in an engineered structural fill at this open-pit clay mine to provide a safe, lined storage facility, while accelerating the return of the mines to usable land. Located in Lee County, the Sanford Mine has a capacity of 8 million tons.

Brickhaven Mine

Moncure, NC

Scope of work: Coal ash will be transported by rail and used in an engineered structural fill at this open-pit clay mine to provide a safe, lined storage facility, while accelerating the return of the mines to usable land. Located in Chatham County, the Brickhaven Mine has a capacity of 12 million tons.

Robinson

Hartsville, SC

Scope of work: Copy/text goes here...

Timeframe: Copy/text goes here...

W.S. Lee

Belton, SC

Scope of work: Permanently close the W.S. Lee ash basins, excavate ash from the inactive basin and ash fill area to a lined landfill, and continue to evaluate fully lined storage options for the remaining ash at the site.

Timeframe: Duke Energy is prepared to begin implementing the ash removal plan within 15 days of receiving necessary approvals and permits. Based on current estimates, excavation of ash is expected to begin 90 days after receipt of all approvals and permits or April 2015 at the earliest.

Video & Images

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

News & Resources

Article Category Date
Duke Energy announces complete ash excavation at W.S. Lee Steam Station News Release 12/18/2014
Duke Energy presentation to Environmental Review Commission Resource 12/10/2014
John Elnitsky's Presentation to the NC General Assembly's Environmental Review Commission Transcript 12/10/2014
Duke Energy details strong progress improving coal ash management and ash basin closure plans News Release 12/10/2014
Duke Energy seeks bidders for upcoming Request for Proposals on coal ash management solutions News Release 12/2/2014
Coal Ash Management Commission transcript Resource 11/14/2014
Duke Energy presentation to Coal Ash Management Commission Resource 11/14/2014
Asheville Excavation Fact Sheet Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Dan River Excavation Fact Sheet Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Riverbend Excavation Fact Sheet Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Sutton Excavation Fact Sheet Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Asheville Detailed Excavation Plan Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Dan River Detailed Excavation Plan Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Riverbend Detailed Excavation Plan Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Sutton Detailed Excavation Plan Plant-Specific Information 11/13/2014
Structural Fill Fact Sheet Resource 11/13/2014
Duke Energy Ash Metrics Fleetwide Resource 11/13/2014
Effluent Limitation Guidelines: Proposed Rule Resource
Federal Regulation of Coal Ash Resource
Coal Ash in North Carolina Resource
Clay Mine Reclamation Fact Sheet Resource 11/13/2014
Charah and Beneficial Reuse Projects Resource 11/14/2014
Duke Energy announces plans to begin removing coal ash from four North Carolina sites News Release 11/13/2014
Duke CEO Op-ed: Duke Energy reinforces commitment to responsibly providing clean, reliable energy News Release 10/22/2014
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
Duke Energy CEO: Work on coal ash management will continueNews 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
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-U.S. EPA agreement on cleanup of Dan River coal ash release Resource 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

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