Duke Energy commences the submission of comprehensive groundwater assessments to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) for all 14 coal-fired power plants in North Carolina, US.
The first three assessments focus on operations at the H.F. Lee Energy Complex (Goldsboro, N.C.), L.V. Sutton Energy Complex (Wilmington, N.C.) and W.H. Weatherspoon Plant (Lumberton, N.C.)
While studies are still ongoing, the assessments have found:
- H.F. Lee – Groundwater near ash basins is flowing away from neighbours' private wells. Impacted groundwater has migrated off-site in isolated areas where there are no private wells.
- Sutton – As previously reported, the company is addressing off-site groundwater impacts by partnering in 2013 with the local water utility to extend a new municipal water line that is under way now and by installing 12 ‘interceptor’ wells that will pump groundwater back to the plant. Private drinking water wells sampled by NCDENR to date show exceedances only for substances that are also naturally occurring and common in the region's soil.
- Weatherspoon – Groundwater near ash basins is flowing away from neighbours' private wells. The area of groundwater impact is confined to the ash basin footprint and the former coal pile area.
- Data demonstrate that water quality in the Cape Fear, Neuse and Lumber rivers has not been affected by ash basin operations.
Comprehensive site assessments for the company's other 11 North Carolina facilities will be filed with regulators by mid-September, which is consistent with the requirements in the N.C. Coal Ash Management Act.
The next stage of work will involve additional sampling and computer modelling in the next 90 days to obtain a comprehensive outlook on how the groundwater conditions may change over time. If any groundwater impacts arise, the sampling results and modelling will help deduce the best engineering solutions to protect groundwater in the long-term.
The groundwater data will also be used to inform effective basin closure recommendations.
Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/06082015/update-on-duke-energy-groundwater-assessment-reports-2689/