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Duke Energy Recognized for Innovative Soil and Water Management Practices Jan. 29, 2009

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

Duke Energy Carolinas has been recognized for innovative soil and water management practices used in upgrading an existing transmission line located in the rugged and scenic Macon and Graham counties in North Carolina.    

Residents and businesses in these two mountain counties have received electricity from the Nantahala-Santeetlah transmission line for almost 70 years. Last November, Duke Energy Carolinas completed a major line upgrade to enhance reliability and meet growing demand for electricity. 

For its innovative use of soil and water conservation best practices during this three-year project, Duke Energy Carolinas was presented with the Industrial Conservation Award on Jan. 24, 2009, by the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the international Soil and Water Conservation Society.

"This is an example of outstanding environmental stewardship on the part of Duke Energy Carolinas," said Dr. Maurice G. Cook, a retired North Carolina State University soil science professor who is a consultant and member of the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter. 

Dr. Cook conducted an outside audit of the soil and water conservation practices Duke Energy Carolinas used during line construction and nominated the company for the award.

"The Industrial Conservation Award recognizes a business or industry that demonstrates its care and concern for natural resources through the wise selection and implementation of appropriate soil and water management techniques to minimize adverse environmental impacts typically associated with large construction projects like this," said Dr. Cook.

Duke Energy Carolinas essentially "rebuilt" the 20-mile, 161,000-volt transmission line by installing new towers and installing an additional circuit to increase the line's capacity. Work on the line began in 2005 and extended from the Nantahala Hydroelectric Plant in Macon County to the Tennessee Valley Authority's switchyard junction near Rymers Ferry in Graham County. 

"Much of the construction work was performed on U.S. Forest Service land containing steep slopes, trout streams and sensitive wetlands," said Roger Hurst, the project manager for Duke Energy's Power Delivery group. "We used cranes and heavy trucks in order to complete the project, so we had to pay special attention to erosion control."

The techniques that Duke Energy Carolinas used during construction to minimize impacts to the environment included the use of: 

  • Water bars on access roads to divert  water flow into sedimentation pits
  • Site preparation, seeding, mulching and fertilization to establish vegetation on-work sites and access roads to minimize erosion 
  • Riprap on steep grades to stabilize the sloping land
  • Sedimentation fences along the work sites and access roads to retain on-site any eroded material
  • Portable bridges to cross mountain streams with heavy equipment

"We had to build a tower in a wetland along the transmission line route, so we used high density polyethylene mats to protect the soil and plant life," Hurst said. "These mats distributed the weight from the heavy equipment evenly to avoid creating ruts in the soft soil."

"We very much appreciate the recognition from this prestigious organization for the soil and water conservation practices we utilized during this project," said Russ Campbell, vice president of Duke Energy power delivery engineering and overall project sponsor. "Environmental stewardship is important to our company and we worked hard to minimize the impact from our construction activities."

Duke Energy's Carolinas operations include nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides nearly 19,000 net megawatts of electricity to approximately 2.4 million electric customers in a 22,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.


Contact: Andy Thompson
Phone: 704-382-2355
24-Hour Phone: 704-382-8333
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