Duke Energy has just settled a several-year-long court battle over the pollution and cleanup of a dozen coal ash sites across the state of North Carolina, including 1 on Lake Norman (Marshall Site) and 1 on Lake Wylie (Allen Site).
The NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) sent out a press release this morning regarding the historic settlement, detailing what will become the largest environmental cleanup in the history of the United States. The new agreement requires Duke to excavate over 76 million tons of coal ash from open and unlined dump sites at 6 facilities (enough to fill over 30,000 Olympic sized swimming pools), as well as an additional 3 million tons of non-impoundment coal ash, moving all of the coal ash into on-site lined landfills. They will also be required to install a myriad of protective measures at the sites, including earth stabilization and ground and surface water monitoring systems.
“North Carolina’s communities have lived with the threat of coal ash pollution for too long. They can now be certain that the clean-up of the last coal ash impoundments in our state will begin this year,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan. “We are holding Duke accountable and will continue to hold them accountable for their actions as we protect public health, the environment and our natural resources.”
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, a Charlotte-based nonprofit and leading community group in the case, today released a full timeline of events leading up to today’s historic settlement;
To find out more about the cleanup and how they might impact you, the NCDEQ set up a dedicated website related to all matters surrounding the coal-ash cleanup at deq.nc.gov/coalashexcavation.
If you’re concerned about the drinking water around your home, officials recommend either using a drinking water test kit and/or installing a reverse osmosis filtration system.