Gallons of landfill leachate released into stream

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Friday morning Mayo Plant’s landfill had a release of leachate due to a leak in the plant’s piping system.

According to Duke Energy, between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of leachate was released into the Bowes Branch, a tributary of Hyco River.

Leachate is water that comes into contact with a waste.

“Leachate is often something like rainwater that has come into contact with the waste that is stored in the landfill, so once water enter into that landfill you manage it and pipe it around to be recycled on the site,” said Sheehan.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was notified Friday afternoon and it is also investigating the release.

“Division of Waste Management staff were on site Monday to conduct an investigation and once staff management reviews the inspection report they will determine the next steps,” said DEQ Public Information Officer Laura Leonard.

According to Leonard, DEQ has yet to determine if the release caused any harm to the environment.

However, Duke Energy believes otherwise.

According to a release from Duke Energy Friday, “there was no release of coal ash and the company does not believe there is any (harmful) impact to the environment.”

A worker on-site discovered the release and crews began to manage the situation.

According to Duke Energy’s spokesperson Paige Sheehan, the source of water was stopped within a few minutes, but there was still some water in the piping system.

Sheehan said it took most of the day to stop the water flow.

Duke Energy workers immediately stopped the source of the leak and continued to monitor the spill over several hours.

Eventually, the water came out of the pipe and entered into soggy soil and moved throughout.

The piping system is inspected weekly and was inspected Tuesday of last week showing no indication of a release.

Duke Energy responded by taking provisional steps.

“We immediately shut off the source of water and then begin collecting water in a vacuum truck and also monitoring the situation, and then what we also do is a regulatory requirement. The requirement is that we alert the public,” said Sheehan.

In this case the coal combustion residuals is the landfill at Mayo.

According to Sheehan, the issue was resolved on Friday evening.

“It appeared to be a weld and a pipe that broke and it caused some water from the leachate piping system to escape and it landed on the ground,” said Sheehan.

Duke Energy has begun doing an internal investigation on what caused the leak in the piping system.

“What will happen now is the company will do more investigating internally and find out exactly what happened with that pipe and why it didn’t behave the way it was supposed to and we will make the necessary repairs and follow up with the regulators as well,” said Sheehan.

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