ash ponds

Charah

Duke Energy and Chatham County have resolved a dispute over the transfer of coal ash.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

Duke Energy has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for its handling of coal ash, which led to last year’s Dan River spill and violated the Clean Water Act around the state.


Eighty-seven homes near Duke Energy coal ash ponds around North Carolina have well-water contaminated with heavy metals, according to state environmental regulators. 

Alexia Gyorody / WFAE

The commission overseeing North Carolina’s clean-up of coal ash around the state has canceled its upcoming meeting, because of a court decision that has called the group’s legitimacy into question.


Duke Energy

North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued the largest fine in its history, against Duke Energy. The agency fined Duke $25 million for pollution from coal ash at its Sutton Lake coal plant, near Wilmington.


Duke Energy saw earnings fall last year, and it expects lower earnings than analysts have projected next year. Still, many on the company’s earnings call Wednesday were upbeat.


The North Carolina Senate is moving to fix a problem with the state’s new Coal Ash Management Commission. Lawmakers created the commission last year to oversee clean-up and closure of Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds around the state, but an error in the bill has left the commission short on funds.

Three months after its first meeting, the Coal Ash Management Commission still doesn’t have the funds to hire half of its five-member staff, because of what commission chairman Michael Jacobs calls a “glitch” in the law.

While North Carolina is ramping up to close coal ash ponds around the state, removal is already underway in South Carolina, and—at one site—ahead of schedule.

South Carolina electric utility Santee Cooper entered a settlement with environmental groups in 2013, to get its coal ash—which can contain arsenic and lead—out of storage ponds near public waters.

Mark Rumsey / WFAE

Duke Energy has proposed moving millions of tons of coal ash from waste ponds and using it to fill in old mines. So far, the plan has drawn support from frequent adversaries of the utility.

Duke says it has the perfect place to put about three million tons of ash: in old clay mines in Moncure and Sanford, a few dozen miles southwest of Raleigh. Right now, they are just open pits says Duke Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Jabon.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

North Carolina environmental regulators have ordered Duke Energy to redo the first step in the process of cleaning up its coal ash ponds around the state. The company has to measure contamination from the ponds, and state regulators say their plans to do so are inadequate.

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