Duke Energy says flood had minor impact on coal ash at Lee plant

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) said Oct. 15 that site inspections at the old H.F. Lee coal plant site conducted in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

The company said in a news release that inspections at the steam plant site in Goldsboro, North Carolina confirm there was only very minor erosion of material from an inactive coal ash basin on the site, Duke said in a news release.

The majority of that material, which includes coal ash, remained very close to the inactive basin, on the berm or a few feet away on the basin roadway

The state team that inspected the facility determined that the amount of material that was displaced “would not even fill the bed of an average pickup truck,” Duke said in a news release.

In June 2015, the company recommended excavation of ash because of potential flooding at the facility. That is now a requirement under North Carolina’s coal ash management law and that work is to be completed by Aug. 1, 2028.

Water samples taken on Oct. 12, just downstream of the inactive basins, showed no measurable ash-related constituents in the Neuse River.

The inactive basins have well-established cover – including organic material, grass, shrubs and trees – and have performed as expected in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew with minimal erosion.

“Because some water remains in the cooling pond, the H.F. Lee natural gas plant can operate, if needed, to serve customers,” Duke Energy said.

The natural gas units that comprise a combined-cycle facility at the Lee station in Wayne County, North Carolina were built in 2012. Duke demolished much of the old coal plant infrastructure in 2013 and 2014.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.