NC agency orders clean up of coal ash ponds at Duke’s Sutton plant
The order gives Duke until Nov. 15 to submit plans for excavating ash from the Sutton plant near Wilmington. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
North Carolina's environmental agency is asking Duke Energy to submit plans for moving coal ash from four sites across the state, including the Sutton Plant in New Hanover County where the utility stores 2.6 million tons of the material.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources also issued Duke a directive Wednesday to increase drinking water testing at the company's ash dumps.
Duke has 14 plants with 33 unlined ash pits.
It's part of an executive order Gov. Pat McCrory issued after lawmakers adjourned without agreement on a proposed plan requiring the company to dig up or cap its 33 pits.
But environmental groups said the legislation would have done little to stop Duke's ash pits from leaking toxic waste into the state waterways.
The governor's order gives Duke until Nov. 15 to submit plans for excavating ash from the company's Asheville, Riverbend, Dan River and Sutton plants.
Duke Energy Spokeswoman Erin Culbert released the following statement:
"We will respond to the state as we advance our comprehensive plan for the management and closure of ash basins in North Carolina. We remain committed to fact-based and scientific solutions that protect the environment and groundwater.
The notices are a continuation of the state's process to address pipe inspections the company performed near ash basins earlier this year. We proposed several actions and volunteered to perform work necessary to close or repair pipes as needed. Today the state simply responded to the company's recommendations for how to proceed, and we continue moving quickly through the process."
Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.