DEQ approves closure plans for six coal ash sites in North Carolina

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NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — After a review and public participation process, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved the closure plans detailing the excavation of coal ash impoundments at six Duke facilities.

The facilities include: Belews Creek Steam Station, Roxboro Steam Electric Plant, Buck Combined Cycle Station, Cape Fear Power Station, H.F. Lee Energy Complex and Weatherspoon Power Plant.

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For each facility, DEQ has determined that the closure plan meets the requirements of the Coal Ash Management Act (CAMA) and is protective of public health and the environment.

Under the consent order signed in February 2020, Duke Energy is required to excavate more than 80 million tons of coal ash from open, unlined impoundments at several locations and place the excavated coal ash in onsite lined landfills.

Roxboro and Belews Creek will be subject to additional protective measures for specific sections of impoundments that will remain under existing permitted landfills or structural fills. The closure plans for Buck, Cape Fear, H.F. Lee and Weatherspoon facilities – known as beneficiation sites – require that the excavated coal ash will be removed and recycled for use in cement products.

The approved closure plans are consistent with the terms of the Consent Order. The Department held public hearings, provided the proposed closure plans for public comment, reviewed written public comments and analyzed site-specific information provided by Duke Energy and the public.

Under CAMA, Duke Energy was required to submit the proposed closure plans for 10 facilities by Dec. 31, 2019 for review and approval by DEQ staff. Department staff are still reviewing the requested revisions to the closure plan for the Allen Steam Station. The Department will issue a determination within 120 days of when the plan is deemed complete.

The full closure plan decision, hearing officer report and submitted comments for the Belews Creek, Roxboro, Buck, Cape Fear, H.F. Lee and Weatherspoon facilities can be found online at: