EPA, Duke Energy enter agreement in cleanup of Dan River coal ash spill
ATLANTA — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed an enforceable agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC to perform a comprehensive assessment, determine the location of coal ash deposits and to remove deposits along the Dan River as deemed appropriate by EPA in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a result of the coal ash spill that occurred at the Dan River Steam Station on Feb. 2.
Under the Administrative Order and Agreement on Consent, entered into under the Superfund law, EPA will oversee the cleanup and Duke will reimburse EPA for its oversight costs.
“EPA will work with Duke Energy to ensure that cleanup at the site, and affected areas, is comprehensive based on sound scientific and ecological principles, complies with all Federal and State environmental standards, and moves as quickly as possible,” said EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney. “Protection of public health and safety remains a primary concern, along with the long-term ecological health of the Dan River.”
Since the contamination extended into Virginia, and because removal and assessment work will occur in both North Carolina and Virginia, the order will be signed by both EPA Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Region Superfund division directors. In addition, the order also requires Duke to reimburse all past EPA response costs, as well as all future oversight costs in connection with the site.
Duke’s work will be subject to review and approval by EPA, in consultation with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality, to ensure full compliance with Superfund law. Once removal activities are complete, Duke will be required to assess any remaining contamination to determine whether additional actions may be needed.
Coal ash at the site contains arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium and zinc, which are hazardous substances as defined under the Superfund law. The terms of the order require that the disposal of coal ash from the spill meet specific protective disposal standards for landfills, such as synthetic liners, leachate collection systems and groundwater monitoring.
For additional information about the order and EPA’s response, visit: http://epa.gov/region4/duke-energy/index.html.