Duke Energy to clean up remaining coal ash sites in settlement

The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation this week has agreed to a settlement with Duke Energy to clean up the remaining coal ash sites.

Duke Energy has agreed to clean the remaining six coal ash sites in North Carolina. This includes the Marshal site on Lake Norman and the Allen site on Lake Wylie. The Duke Energy 14-site coal-ash cleanup is the largest coal ash cleanup in U.S. history.

When the work is complete, crews will excavate about 126 million tons of coal ash and other contaminated materials, enough to fill more than 30,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

For nearly eight years, the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, a small nonprofit organization based in Charlotte, said they "led the charge in state and federal court to fight huge companies like Duke Energy and ensure those responsible clean up the unlined coal ash pits along the Catawba River and three of her major lakes - Mountain Island Lake, Lake Norman, and Lake Wylie." 

The Settlement: The Bottom Line 

  • The Allen Steam Station site includes two coal ash ponds totaling more than 300 acres and 16.6 million tons of coal ash. According to the settlement, both ponds will be fully excavated, which means the coal ash and impacted soil will be dug out and removed, then secured in a lined storage site.
  • The Marshall Steam Station includes a coal ash pond and landfill totaling 400 acres and 17.4 million tons of coal ash. Duke agreed to fully excavate the site. The Marshall site also contains fill that isn’t regulated by the state’s Coal Ash Management Act; the settlement confirms that Duke Energy is still responsible for monitoring and correcting groundwater contamination in those areas.
  • Duke will be liable for toxins that exceed safe levels at or beyond its property boundary or at the edge of a water body like Lake Norman or Lake Wylie.