5,000 signatures reached
To: Honorable Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory
Keep Toxic Coal Ash Out of Our Communities
Do not allow Duke Energy to dump its toxic coal ash waste in lined landfills, which will further spread the contamination. The state needs to move quickly to require Duke to clean up its coal ash ponds in Eden and all others sites safely and responsibly, and to keep coal ash out of our communities by isolating it in concrete vaults on its own property, known as saltstone disposal units.
Why is this important?
On February 2, 2014, in the third largest coal ash disaster in history, Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station released a torrent of toxic sludge into the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina. Shortly after the spill, more than a few elected officials and advocacy groups began calling for removal of the ash from plant sites to double-lined landfills. However, present solid waste landfills were never designed for the hazards presented by coal ash and are not suitable.
Lined landfills are not a long-term solution to the problem of coal ash disposal because leakage and contamination are inevitable. As noted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, all landfills, single or double lined, will eventually leak. Most municipal and commercial landfills are located in communities that are low-income, rural, and often communities of color. Transferring coal ash into these landfills will have a disproportionate impact on environmental justice communities. The case of Uniontown, Alabama, provides a disturbing example of what can happen when coal plant companies are allowed to dump in solid waste landfills. After the coal ash spill in Kingston, TN, millions of tons of coal ash was transferred to a solid waste dump there. The town, 80% African American, has suffered severe health consequences from the contamination and is now the subject of a Federal Civil Rights law suit.
As an alternative, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League proposes that the ash be stored by the power plant operators onsite but in a manner which would isolate it from surface water, groundwater and the air. One method involves the use of cylindrical concrete "saltstone" units. Such concrete vaults are used commercially for waste sludge and liquids. The mixture includes cement, fly ash, and slag which is put into the
concrete vaults where it hardens. Such vaults may be as large as 120,000 square feet, approximately two football fields in size. They are modular, allowing for expansion as the need arises.
Duke Energy should keep the coal ash stored safely in saltstone disposal units on their own property at the coal plants, rather than transferring the waste, and the liability for the waste, on to communities that would be put at great risk. Duke Energy needs to be held fully accountable for the coal ash and the dilemma that they have produced for both the short and long-term management of this toxic substance.
To view the full technical report, "COAL ASH DISPOSITION: The Alternative for North Carolina" visit our website at www.bredl.org