Duke Energy reports progress on Dan River cleanup effort

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) said July 16 that it has completed cleanup work along the Dan River just upstream of the Schoolfield Dam in Danville, Va., following a high-profile spill of coal ash into the river in February at a shut power plant site in nearby North Carolina.

Completion of the work was reviewed and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since the operation began on May 6, approximately 2,500 tons of coal ash and river sediment have been removed from this location.

The company said it expects equipment demobilization and restoration activities in a public park to continue for the next two weeks, with plans to return the park to the public in late July. Schedules are subject to change due to weather and work conditions at the site.

As part of restoration efforts at the park, Duke Energy will repair and repave portions of the parking lot and re-seed grass areas. In consultation with the city of Danville, the company will delay major plantings such as trees and shrubbery until the fall. Duke Energy is working with the city of Danville to identify future opportunities for additional enhancements at the park such as improved river and fishing access areas.

The company previously completed removal of ash and sediment from water treatment facilities in Danville and South Boston, as well as from locations in the river at the retired Dan River Steam Station and Town Creek, two miles downstream from the plant. More than 500 tons of coal ash and river sediment was removed from these areas.

All ash removal operations have been under the direction of the EPA and conducted in conjunction with state and other federal agencies. Based on the EPA’s criteria, there currently are no additional deposits to be removed from the river. Duke Energy, EPA and other agencies will continue monitoring and will remove additional coal ash and sediment deposits if identified and deemed necessary.

Duke Energy said drinking water quality in the river has remained safe since the ash spill event on Feb. 2, and surface water quality returned to normal conditions within days of the event. As a result, the EPA, in conjunction with other federal and state agencies, has concluded that enhanced drinking and river water quality sampling is no longer necessary along the river. Sediment, fish tissue and other biological sampling will continue until further notice.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.