Local News
4:45 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Airport Or No, Duke Will Remove Riverbend Coal Ash

Duke Energy officials confirm the company will remove coal ash at the Riverbend power plant above Mountain Island Lake, even though the company’s proposal to send the ash to Charlotte airport is encountering resistance. 

The primary coal ash pond at Riverbend. The grey bed in the foreground is coal ash.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

Riverbend is one of four plants in North Carolina where Duke has committed to excavate all of its coal ash, because it sits above Charlotte’s drinking water. Duke had proposed the Charlotte airport use the ash—wrapped in plastic so it does not pollute—to grade land under new runways, taxiways, or other projects.

There had been reports that, barring that, the company might seek to keep the ash where it is.

“We’re gonna excavate it one way or another,” says Duke spokeswoman Lisa Hoffman. “We’re just hoping for a very useful purpose, such as a structural fill at the airport.”

City officials have not issued a formal decision, but ten days ago, the airport’s top official announced he does not want the ash under areas the planes use. There have been concerns about how the fill would stand up to constant pounding from jet planes.