NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The Sutton Electric Plant in New Hanover County is among a dozen Duke sites under fire for permit violations.
According to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the state filed two lawsuits Friday for claims related to the way the utility stores coal ash residuals.
The NCDENR is seeking a state Superior Court order to require Duke to address groundwater and wastewater violations at 12 of the sites, including the Sutton Electric Plant in New Hanover County.
The state is concerned that there could be "a serious danger to the health, safety and welfare of residents" if the problem is not assessed and corrected.
"without assessing the problem and taking corrective action, pose a serious danger to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of North Carolina and serious harm to the water resources of the State," the complaints state.
For copies of the lawsuits or related documents, go online to the state Division of Water Resources' website at: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/ and go to "DWR Water Quality Programs Hot Topics" listing.
Duke Energy released the following talking points in response to the lawsuits:
• We have consistently complied with our plants' water discharge permits. Duke Energy has a track record of outstanding, safe operations in North Carolina and is committed to protecting water quality.
• State regulators are requesting more data to ensure waters of the state are well protected; however, this action does not indicate that water quality has changed dramatically over the decades these plants have operated safely.
• By the end of this year, we will have retired seven of the 14 coal plants in North Carolina as part of our investments to build cleaner power plants. We've already committed to properly closing ash basins at retired coal plants, which ultimately resolves many of these questions. We've also made significant investments at our remaining NC coal stations to proactively transition to managing fly ash dry in lined landfills.
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