NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Regulators are taking a closer look at Duke Energy plants across the state after tons of coal ash and waste water spilled into the Dan River in February.
Sutton Steam Electricity Plant was one of several locations to be cited for a permit violation, according to a release Monday from the State Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The facility does not have a stormwater permit, according to the state. DENR spokeswoman Bridget Munger said Monday that it is required by federal standards for any industry operating outside where chemicals could be washed away by rain water.
The permit lets the state know a business can contain any stormwater on site or keep what washes off-site to a safe standard, according to Munger.
Susan Bouchard, who lives near the plant, said news about the lack of a permit will not change her daily routine. Bouchard has lived in the Flemington neighborhood for a decade and filters her tap water twice before using it.
"I even give bottled water to my cat and my dog," she said. "Everything I've heard about the water is always negative."
Bouchard said no one from the company has visited her community to dispel any rumors or explain that her water is safe.
"That would probably make me feel a little bit better," Bouchard said.
When asked initially about the citation, a spokesperson for Duke Energy said ‘we will respond to the state' and directed us to previous comments about the coal ash situation for more information.
A call to the company's 24-hour media hotline for answers, resulted in an operator recording for a number that's no longer in service.
Sutton's coal-powered plant, which has been around since the 50's, was retired in November 2013. When asked why the citations are coming out now, Munger said it is in response to the Dan River spill.
"We don't want any more surprises," she said.
Munger added that DENR representatives had been working with Duke Energy on a permit specific to coal ash for years. That process ended when the spill was detected.
Duke Energy has 30 days to provide a response to the state regarding the stormwater permit citations for five facilities.
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