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Coal ash excavations

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World Coal,

In recent weeks, the W.S. Lee Steam Station site in Belton, S.C. has become a hive of activity in anticipation of the first truckload of coal ash to be mined and moved to an off-site landfill.

The first truck arrived on 14 April to move tonnes of material produced by burning the coal that has driven the Carolinas for over a century.

"This is an important milestone for our customers as we transition out of the wet ash business altogether," said John Elnitsky, Senior Vice President of Ash Strategy. "This ash movement is the next step toward safely closing ash basins in the Carolinas."

As the first stage of excavation, Waste Management is transferring approximately 1.4 million t of ash from the inactive ash basin and an ash fill area to its landfill in Homer, Ga. The first stage will take around two to three years to complete and will account for 39% of the total waste material.

Furthermore, the final industrial stormwater permits for the Allen, Marshall and Riverbend stations have been issued by North Carolina regulators. This permits the start of ash removal from the Riverbend site to a fully lined facility. The company will start with a few trucks to test the process and minimise impacts to neighbours having been assessing landfill options that are ready to receive the material.

"We share our customers' urgency for moving ash and closing basins, and we are mobilising to the site to begin preparations to excavate soon," Elnitsky said.

Duke Energy also will excavate ash at the Dan River and Sutton plants in North Carolina as a mandatory requirement of a new state law once the appropriate permits are received.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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