Duke Energy has filed reports with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that show the utility company is not meeting groundwater standards near coal basins at several of its power plants. According to The Courier-Times, this includes the two coal basins in Person County in North Carolina.
According to Tanya Evans, a Duke Energy spokeswoman, said the well that tested below regulatory standards are not drinking wells.
“As previously studied and reported, groundwater is flowing away from all of our plant neighbor wells,” Evans said to The Courier-Times. “Furthermore, the samples are taken from wells on our property close the ash basins.”
According to The Courier-Times, Duke Energy self-reported violations at other plants as well including its Belews Creek plant, Cliffside, Marshall and Allen power stations.
According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, the reports are further evidence that the company should be required to close all of its coal ash basins.
“Duke Energy is polluting groundwater in the Carolinas with toxic and radioactive contaminants,” said Frank Holleman, a lawyer with the SELC, to The Courier-Times. “Duke Energy should remove its coal ash from all its unlined, leaking pits to protect our groundwater and our rivers and lake from radioactive and toxic pollution.”
The company is already moving to close its ash basins, according to Evans. The utility company is being required to continue monitoring its groundwater and report results of those test to the EPA. According to The Courier-Times, Duke will file those report in February ahead of a March deadline set by the federal government. The reports will be filed days after the last of a series of public meetings designed to collect public comments on the need for Duke Energy to close its coal ash basins.
According to Evans, closing the coal ash basins is critical for protecting the groundwater.
“One of the ways to deal with groundwater impacts is to close the ash basins and we are already well down that path,” Evans said to The Courier-Times.