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Duke Energy proposes onsite coal ash landfill at W.S. Lee plant

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World Coal,

In 2014, Duke Energy Carolinas announced it intended to excavate coal ash from two ash basins and a structural fill area on the property.The company is beginning the permitting process to safely manage coal ash at the W.S. Lee plant in Belton, South Carolina, US, through the construction of a fully lined onsite landfill at the plant.

Duke is currently excavating about 1.4 million t of coal ash from one inactive ash basin and an ash fill area at the W.S. Lee site and transporting the material to a fully lined landfill in Homer, Ga. This work, which is underway, will manage approximately 44% of the coal ash at the site.

The landfill site will be located on existing plant property and will provide a permanent storage solution for approximately 2.2 million t of coal ash remaining at the site.

"This proposed landfill continues to advance our strategy to safely close ash basins and manage coal ash across our service area," commented John Elnitsky, Duke Energy Senior Vice President of Ash Basin Strategy. "Our preference is to store coal ash at or near our plant sites, when possible. This landfill will reduce impacts to the local community and will provide a safe and efficient solution for the permanent storage of the remaining ash at the W.S. Lee Station."

The landfill will feature multiple layers of synthetic and natural barriers. Coal ash will be stored dry in the landfill with a protective capping system installed on top – effectively containing the ash and separating it from surrounding soil and groundwater.

The company is intending to carry out extensive groundwater monitoring to ensure the landfill operates as designed and the local environment remains protected.

"Our first priority is ensuring the continued safety of our neighbours and our environment," said Elnitsky. "We're using a science-based plan, industry-proven technology and advanced engineering to site and construct this fully lined landfill."

Moving ash to final storage solutions

Duke Energy is also currently moving ash at the Asheville plant, Dan River Steam plant, Riverbend Steam plant, Rogers Energy Complex (formerly Cliffside Steam Station), Sutton plant and W.S. Lee Steam plant to a variety of approved onsite and offsite fully lined storage solutions. It will also pursue an onsite lined landfill to manage ash at the Robinson Plant in Hartsville, S.C.

Duke Energy continues to evaluate basins at other sites and will base recommended closure plans on science and public input.

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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