Duke Energy to pay $6 million for 2014 coal ash spill into Dan River

State environmental officials say a settlement has been reached with Duke Energy for environmental violations related to the February 2014 coal ash spill into the Dan River.

The $6 million fine addresses violations of the federal clean drinking water law that the company committed during and after the Dan River spill. 

In February, state regulators fined the utility $6.8 million for the spill at the company’s Dan River power plant in Eden. Duke Energy challenged the fine, which was the second largest for environmental violations in state history.

The $6 million settlement prevents the state from incurring additional legal costs associated with lengthy litigation and allows the state to focus all its resources on permanently closing coal ash ponds. 

The settlement is in addition to Duke Energy’s obligations under the state coal ash law to excavate and close the Dan River facility’s coal ash ponds by August 1, 2019.  The utility is required to close all of its coal ash ponds by 2029 and provide permanent alternative water supplies to residents around coal ash facilities by the fall of 2018.

All of the proceeds will go to a statewide fund for public schools.