Coal Ash

A grappler tears into bricks and metal at Duke Energy's retired Riverbend Steam Station in Mount Holly.
David Boraks / WFAE

A big transformation is happening at Duke Energy's retired Riverbend Steam Station on Mountain Island Lake northwest of Charlotte. The 1920s powerhouse is being demolished, wall-by-wall. And trains are hauling away coal ash that had been dumped behind the plant for about 90 years. 

Duke Energy has settled a class-action lawsuit filed by homeowners who live near the company’s coal ash sites, and the suit has been dismissed. 

Deborah Graham of Salisbury waits her turn to address the NC Utilities Commisssion. She lived near a Duke Energy storage pit and opposes the company's rate hike request to pay for coal ash cleanup.
Keri Brownn / WFDD

State regulators got an earful from residents who say they don’t want to pay for costs associated with coal ash cleanup across the state. The North Carolina Utilities Commission held a public hearing in Greensboro Wednesday night at the Guilford County Courthouse. The agency is considering a 16.7 percent rate hike request from Duke Energy. That’s around $18 more a month.

Coal ash is being excavated from Duke Energy's closed Riverbend coal plant on Mountain Island Lake.
David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is opposing Duke Energy's request to charge ratepayers for the costs of cleaning up its coal ash dumps around the state.  

A worker delivers bottled water to a home in Belmont, near Duke Energy's Allen coal plant. Duke will provide a permament drinking water supply to well owners by 2018.
David Boraks / WFAE

People who live near Duke Energy's North Carolina coal ash dumps on Thursday marked 1,000 days of living on bottled water, amid fears that their wells are contaminated. They're calling on lawmakers to adopt stronger groundwater standards to prevent contamination of private wells. And they want Duke to dig up and secure coal ash statewide - not just at a few sites as now required.

Duke is close to announcing coal-ash basin closure plans for a half-dozen plants, including the Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has agreed to pay an $84,000 fine and will speed up coal ash cleanups at three coal-fired power plants in western North Carolina. The proposed agreement with state environmental regulators deals with pollutants seeping from coal ash ponds near the Marshall plant on Lake Norman, the Allen plant in Gaston County and the Rogers plant in Rutherford County.

Mark Rumsey / WFAE

For the last three years, an advisory panel based at UNC Charlotte has helped guide Duke Energy as the company figures out what to do with coal ash. And, during that time, Duke has also contracted with the university to do scientific research on specific coal ash sites.   

Providing research and advice of this nature requires a degree of collaboration. But, when companies turn to universities for hired expertise, challenges and questions about the relationship can arise. Can such collaboration become too cozy?

dan river coal ash cleanup
David Boraks / WFAE

By EMERY P. DALESIO
AP Business Writer

Charging North Carolina consumers the full, multi-billion-dollar cost of cleaning up coal ash dumps is comparable to tire stores charging customers an extra fee to dispose of an old set of wheels, a Duke Energy Corp. executive said Monday.

David Boraks - WFAE

For several years, Duke Energy has faced criticisms about its handling of coal ash, including concerns about contamination of groundwater around coal ash storage ponds at power plant sites in the Carolinas. Now, the company is facing scrutiny over the way it engaged with experts hired to study its handling of coal ash ponds. 

Coal ash is being excavated from Duke Energy's closed Riverbend coal plant on Mountain Island Lake.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy has removed about 13 million tons of coal ash at five plants in North Carolina as it complies with federal and state cleanup requirements. But ten times that amount remains in the ground across the state, and not all that will be removed.

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