CRF Submits Coal Ash Permit Comments

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These NPDES permits are the first up for renewal since the 2014 Dan River coal ash spill and are for all three sites in a 29-mile span of the Catawba River: Allen (Lake Wylie), Marshall (Lake Norman) and Riverbend (Mountain Island Lake

CRF Submits Coal Ash Permit Comments

Three coal ash ponds in a 29-mile span of the Catawba River.

On Tuesday, May 5th, 2015, the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (CRF) submitted detailed comments to the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the draft permits for Duke Energy's three coal-fired power plants along the Catawba River.

The permits seek to allow discharges of coal ash effluent, both through traditionally permitted outfalls as well as seeps. CRF opposed the attempted permitting of seeps. The coal ash ponds themselves are considered a wastewater treatment system, and the seeps are leaks resulting from the lack of liners. From the comments:

At what point does a seep become a failure and a spill? This is an important question that DENR must answer. While the countless channels of steady trickles visible at Allen are not of the same magnitude as spills seen at Dan River and at Kingston, what will define when the growth of those trickles becomes a spill? What defines a spill? An uncontrolled release? That is precisely the nature of these seeps, and it is even how they are being defined by DENR. If the seeps cannot at least be collected and pumped back into the pond (another available technology disregarded in the draft permit), this is further evidence of a leak that should not be permitted as a managed NPDES outfall.


In addition to grossly inadequate monitoring for contaminants known to be associated with coal ash, the permits also allow the power plants to evaporate significant quantities of water from the Catawba River basin, which already has major water demand/supply problems.


You can click below to read the comments:


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