The Dominion Virginia Power unit of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) said April 17 that it will close all of the ash ponds at its Virginia power stations in compliance with standards established by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Coal Combustion Residuals rules.
The company will close ponds at four locations in Virginia: Bremo Power Station in Fluvanna County, Chesapeake Energy Center in Chesapeake, Chesterfield Power Station in Chesterfield County, and Possum Point Power Station in Prince William County.
In recent years, Dominion said it has closed or converted to cleaner fuel five coal-fired stations serving Virginia. Nearly two-thirds of the electricity produced by Dominion’s generation serving the state now comes from carbon-free nuclear generation, clean-burning natural gas and renewables. The company no longer uses coal as a fuel at its Bremo, Chesapeake and Possum Point power stations. The coal units at Chesapeake were shut this past December. The final two coal units at the Yorktown plant have gotten a reprieve from shutdown until early next year due to grid reliability needs.
“The EPA rules were just finalized, and we have been working on plans based on the proposed rule in order to be prepared,” said Pamela Faggert, Dominion’s chief environmental officer and vice president of Corporate Compliance. “We are working with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and other state agencies to develop closure plans that are in compliance with the new rules.”
Under the EPA rules, fly ash has been determined to be a non-hazardous material. Once Dominion has obtained the needed permits from DEQ, other agencies and local jurisdictions, the company will begin the actual closure work. In general, the ponds that are being closed will be drained and covered by a rugged, impermeable liner, then topped with 24 inches of soil. Either grass or sod will be planted on top of the soil. The specifics of the closure plan will be determined by DEQ. Closing the ponds in this manner complies with federal standards set by the EPA, the utility noted.