EDEN, N.C. – Duke Energy is taking steps to ensure that a coal ash spill like that of Feb. 2014 never happens again.
The company plans to begin moving 1.2 million tons of coal ash to a Jetersville, Va. landfill within the next two weeks, according to Jeff Brooks, spokesperson for Duke Energy.
“We’re not just doing what we have to do. We’re doing what we have to do and then going beyond that,” Brooks said.
By law, Duke Energy must remove the coal ash from its current location at Eden’s Dan River Steam Station by Aug. 2019.
Duke Energy plans to relocate the coal ash to the Virginia landfill by train. Before the relocation can begin, Duke Energy is working on railroad tracks that will go the 130 miles, directly from the steam station to the landfill.
“The company that’s managing our transfer has more than a decade of experience moving this type of material,” Brooks said. “They have actually stored similar material from other utilities in this particular landfill. So it was designed for this purpose, and it’s well-suited to protect the environment and safely store this material.”
The coal ash that is not relocated to the Virginia landfill will be sealed in a new storage basin Duke Energy is building on site in Eden. Brooks said the basin will be lined with multiple layers, using the latest technology, to ensure it is sealed and does not leak.
Brooks said the company is taking every step to regain the public’s trust and protect the environment.
“We believe trust is something we have to earn every day,” he said. “We know we can’t do one thing to earn the people’s trust. Hopefully we can demonstrate that we’re very serious about this and very committed to the communities we serve.”
Duke Energy is hosting an informational session, open to the public, for any questions about coal ash. It will be Thursday, Sept. 24 from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Osborne Baptist Church in Eden.