The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has completed its review of video inspections of drain pipes at Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. Engineers say Duke needs to repair or fill in pipes at all of its coal plants. The state issued 14 citations earlier this month and another nine yesterday. The drain pipes are part of the system that filters overflow water from coal ash ponds and sends it under the dams into nearby lakes or rivers. DENR spokeswoman Bridget Munger says the state ordered Duke to record video from inside the pipes following the large coal ash spill in February at Duke’s retired Dan River plant. But she explains that unlike the pipe that broke at Dan River, these pipes run under the dams, not under the ponds themselves.
"We are not looking at the water quality side of it with this part of the investigation," she says. "This is to make sure that there’s nothing that’s threatening the integrity of these dams."
Munger says the size and severity of the cracks and leaks vary depending on the age of the pipes and what they’re made of. She says engineers saw no evidence of immediate danger in any of the footage.
Duke Energy says it will meet the state’s 30-day for a plan to fix the pipes. Seven of the company’s 14 coal plants are no longer in use.
More information about the citations and Duke Energy's responses can be found here on the DENR website.