Jan 10, 2018

Duke Energy Penalized for Groundwater Contamination

The North Carolina-based energy company agreed to mitigate future pollution moving forward

Energy company face penalty for groundwater pollution

The electric company Duke Energy agreed to pay a $84,000 penalty fine to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for toxic waste leaking into neighboring groundwater supplies. In addition to the penalty fine, Duke Energy agreed to participate in cleanup, mitigate future pollution and temporarily provide bottled water to well owners surrounding the three coal burning power plants in question.

The DEP has cited nearly two dozen leaky sites surrounding the coal ash pits at the Rogers, Allen and Marshal power plants near Charlotte, N.C., according to the Associated Press. The energy company had been storing coal waste residue in unlined, earthen basins that leaked into surrounding groundwater sources. Duke Energy was aware of the problem, but claimed the leaks did not impact local wells.

“There is groundwater impact, but the groundwater is moving away from neighbors and away from private wells,” said Paige Sheehan, Duke Energy spokeswoman, regarding the impact of the leaks. 

Moving forward, Duke Energy will draw water off the surface of containment basins in an attempt to reduce leaks. Additionally, coal residues will be stored in dry condition and no longer leaky storage basins.