Duke Energy has received preliminary approval from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) of its plans to offer permanent water supplies to eligible neighbours near its North Carolina coal plants.
"Today's decision finally resolves this issue for plant neighbors and helps preserve the full range of safe basin closure options, which benefits all customers," said David Fountain, Duke Energy president - North Carolina.
"We care for the communities we serve and recognise the uncertainty neighbours experienced with water standards. That's why we voluntarily provided bottled water, supported the legislation to offer neighbours a new, permanent water supply and are now adding a goodwill financial supplement. At the same time, the body of evidence continues to grow, demonstrating that ash basins are not impacting well water quality," he said.
In its preliminary approval, NCDEQ noted it will gather additional information about water quality standards and the treatment systems. Duke Energy will provide the agency with any information that it requests as part of that process.
Goodwill financial supplement
The company has finalised the details of a one-time financial supplement to help provide eligible property owners peace of mind by addressing concerns they've expressed about property values, new water bills or disturbances during construction or maintenance.
- The company will offer a US$5000 goodwill payment per property to support the transition to a new water supply.
- Duke Energy will provide all eligible residential property owners a property value protection plan. If a homeowner sells his or her property (or is under contract to sell) before 15 October 2019, and does not receive fair market value, Duke Energy will cover the difference in price.
- In communities where a public water supply is available and selected, neighbours will receive a stipend to cover approximately 25 years of water bills. The payment will be based on water rates in their community and an average residential usage of 5000 gal./month. The stipends range from nearly US$8000 to US$22 000, depending on the local water rate.
- Neighbours who select the sophisticated water treatment option will benefit from the value of the approximately US$10 000 system, plus long-term maintenance paid by the company.
Safe basin closure
Scientific data continue to show that coal ash basins are not impacting neighbours' wells, including a recent Duke University study that confirms hexavalent chromium is naturally occurring across the region and not originating from ash basins.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/power/16012017/duke-energy-receives-preliminary-approval/