Duke Energy: Stormwater release may have come in contact with coal ash at Sutton plant

Duke Energy: Stormwater release may have come in contact with coal ash at Sutton plant
A string of decisions by North Carolina regulators means electricity consumers could be seeing a $5 billion bill to clean up mountains of waste Duke Energy created by spending decades burning coal to produce power. (Source: Wikimedia)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Duke Energy officials say rainfall from Hurricane Florence caused the release of stormwater that may have come in contact with coal ash from a lined landfill at the Sutton Power Plant in Wilmington.

Due to the heavy rainfall amounts, it is difficult to calculate the amount of water that may have reached Sutton Lake, the cooling pond that was constructed to support plant operations, according to Duke officials.

Inspections on Saturday identified a slope failure and erosion in one section of the coal ash landfill, which displaced about 2,000 cubic yards of material and would fill about two-thirds of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The majority of displaced ash was collected in a perimeter ditch and haul road that surrounds the landfill and is on plant property.

Duke Energy does not believe this incident poses a risk to public health or the environment. The company is conducting environmental sampling as well.

Site personnel are managing the situation and will proceed with a full repair as weather conditions improve.

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