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RALEIGH – The state has filed two lawsuits for injunctive relief against Duke Energy Progress Inc. and Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC for claims related to the discharge of wastewater from the utility’s North Carolina coal ash impoundments that were not included in the state’s earlier legal actions.
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources filed the two complaints Friday in Wake and Mecklenburg counties seeking a state Superior Court order to require the utility to address groundwater and wastewater violations at 12 sites the utility uses to store coal ash residuals. Each complaint addresses violations found at six facilities.
Monitoring of groundwater at the compliance boundaries of the 12 power plants revealed levels of chemical constituents that exceed standards for groundwater protection. Also, state water quality inspectors have observed seeps, or releases of liquids not authorized as part of the permitted discharges, at most of the facilities.
The utility’s permit violations, “without assessing the problem and taking corrective action, pose a serious danger to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of North Carolina and serious harm to the water resources of the State,” the complaints state.
The two lawsuits filed on Friday relate to permit violations the state found at Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford County, Buck Steam Station in Rowan County, Allen Steam Station in Gaston County, Belews Creek Steam Station in Stokes County, Dan River Combined Cycle Station in Rockingham County, Marshall Steam Station in Catawba County, Cape Fear Steam Electric Generating Plant in Chatham County, H.F. Lee Steam Electric Plant in Wayne County, Mayo Steam Electric Generating Plant and Roxboro Steam Electric Generating Plant in Person County, L. V. Sutton Electric Plant in New Hanover County and Weatherspoon Steam Electric Plant in Robeson County.
For copies of the lawsuits or related documents, go online to the state Division of Water Resources’ website at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wq/ and go to “DWR Water Quality Programs Hot Topics” listing.
Earlier this year, the department filed motions for injunctive relief requiring the utility to address similar wastewater discharge permit compliance issues at the utility’s Asheville Steam Electric Generating Plant in Buncombe County and the Riverbend Steam Station in Gaston County. The state in July proposed a consent order with the utility regarding the Asheville and Riverbend locations. The proposed consent order would require the utility to determine the extent of the contamination, address the violations or potential violations at the two plants, pay a civil penalty for past violations and stiff fines assessed daily if the companies fail to comply with the requirements of the final consent order. The state also gave the public 30 days to comment on the proposed consent order. The comment period ended Wednesday. The state will consider the public comments and submit a summary of the comments to the court. The proposed consent order must be approved by the court to be final.