Dominion gears up to close 11 coal ash ponds in Virginia
- Next month, Dominion Virginia Power is expected to begin the process of draining 11 coal ash disposal ponds into Virginia waterways, but the utility continues to face protests and vows from environmentalists to contest permits and call for stricter standards, Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
- Dominion is working to close ponds at four power plants, and is currently constructing a filtration system it believes will produce cleaner water than regulators have required.
- Some protestors, however, said they want Dominion's filtered coal-ash water to exceed drinking water standards, a move the utility said would have little impact because the James River itself does not meet those standards.
- And the utility has satisfied the concerns of some stakeholders downstream. The Washington Post reports the Prince William Board of County Supervisors has reached an agreement with Dominion, satisfying it concerns over the released water.
It looks as though Dominion will finally be able to drain 11 coal ash ponds around Virginia, beginning next month. The utility is completing a seven-step filtration system at Bremo Power Station on the James River, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Overall, draining the ponds is expected to cost about $500 million.
Coal ash ponds have been troubling for Dominion. In February, Dominion confirmed to news outlet InsideNoVa.com that it released 33.7 million gallons of untreated water from a coal ash pond into Quantico Creek. Environmental advocates are now calling for an investigation into whether the utility had authorization to do so.
A U.S. District Court last year rejected the utility's bid to dismiss a Sierra Club lawsuit for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act and a state permit. The suit claims that arsenic and other pollutants are migrating from coal ash stored at its shuttered Chesapeake Energy Center into the Elizabeth River.
- Richmond Times-Dispatch Water removal at Dominion coal ash ponds set to begin next month
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