Meeting planned on Duke Energy coal ash basin closure

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Concerned citizens will have an opportunity to hear Duke Energy’s plans for the closure of the coal ash basins at the company’s Roxboro plant on Hyco Lake at 6 p.m. Wednesday at North Elementary School.

Speakers can begin signing up at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday’s update will be the second held on basins in Person County. Duke Energy’s first meeting Feb. 12 on the closure plan for the basin at its Mayo Plant drew a meager crowd to North End Elementary. Duke engineers expect the work to take 15 years.

The Roxboro plant will have about 17 million tons of uncapped coal ash excavated and moved into a new lined landfill on the company’s property. Ash in and beneath existing state-permitted facilities will remain in place.

The new landfill will feature a 24-inch clay liner or a state and federal government approved alternative on top of the existing soil. A synthetic barrier would be laid out on top of that. A drainage system above the synthetic liner would include a collection system to pick up any leachate coming from the coal ash.

After the excavated coal ash is put in place, another synthetic barrier and a drainage layer will be placed on top and covered with soil, topsoil and grass.

According to a sheet produced by Duke Energy, drinking and recreational water supplies have always been safe from coal ash, but the submitted Corrective Action Plan will address the localized groundwater impacts immediately under and beside the basins. Duke Energy says the impacts are contained on company property and moving away from the plant’s neighbors.

The company says it’s recommending advanced engineering technologies such as groundwater extraction wells and clean water infiltration wells be installed to monitor groundwater conditions. Once the plan is approved, Duke Energy says it will bring groundwater to state standards by the end of 2029 while ensuring the public remains protected.

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