Permanently closing ash basins
Duke Energy is committed to responsibly managing our coal ash in a safe and sustainable way. The company has taken important steps to strengthen its operations and develop thoroughly researched closure plans.
First and Second Quarter 2019
- Completed ash basin excavation at three North Carolina facilities: Dan River Steam Station in Eden, Sutton Plant in Wilmington and Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly.
- Began construction of three new coal ash recycling units at three plant sites in North Carolina to reprocess ash for use in the construction industry: Buck in Salisbury, H.F. Lee in Goldsboro and Cape Fear in Moncure. Once the units come online in 2020 and 2021, the company will recycle more ash than it produces each year.
- Completed ash handling technology upgrades at operating coal plants to take ash basins permanently out of service; all production ash is now being handled dry in lined landfills or being recycled, with no ash going to basins (other than Asheville and Gallagher, which are being retired).
- Began safe removal of the free water from basins at Allen, Belews Creek, Buck, Cape Fear, Cliffside and Mayo. That removal occurs regardless of whether a basin is excavated or capped and is the most effective step in improving groundwater quality.
- Completed the long-term monitoring report for the Dan River, which reaffirms that water quality in the river returned to normal in a few days, drinking water always remained safe and continued testing has shown no impact on the river's aquatic life.
Strong Progress through 2018
The scope and scale of the company's work to close 59 basins at 21 plants continues to move forward. Highlights of the progress include:
- More than 7 million work hours were logged in 2018 by expert teams focused on basin closure, demonstrating the company's commitment to safely managing coal ash.
- Work to prepare basins for closure is underway across the fleet. By mid-2019, the company will stop sending ash and wastewater to nearly all basins, in advance of state and federal requirements. To accomplish this, the company constructed dry bottom ash handling systems, lined water treatment basins and new lined retention basins at a number of operating coal plants.
- Ash has been excavated from seven basins at the Asheville Plant (Asheville, N.C.), Rogers Energy Complex (Mooresboro, N.C.), W.S. Lee facility (Belton, S.C.), Cayuga Generating Station (Cayuga, Ind.), Gibson Generating Station (Owensville, Ind.) and Gallagher Generating Station (New Albany, Ind.).
- In the coming months, excavation will be completed at seven additional basins at the Dan River facility (Eden, N.C.), Riverbend Steam Station (Mount Holly, N.C.), Sutton Energy Complex (Wilmington, N.C.) and East Bend Station (Boone Co., Ky.).
- Approximately 22 million tons of ash have been excavated since basin closure began in recent years, with more than 5 million tons moved in 2018 alone.
- A vital step in closure is to remove the free water from the basins, which will happen at both excavated and capped facilities. That process is underway at many locations and is the most effective step in improving groundwater quality. In addition, the company has begun work to determine additional corrective actions to improve groundwater, and it will monitor groundwater for decades to ensure that the environment remains well protected.