Details Unknown on Proposed Progress Energy Landfill
By Catherine M. Welch
Wilmington, NC – Progress Energy says it's still working out the details on how to protect ground water from a landfill proposed for New Hanover County.
The landfill would be located on the company's property on Sutton Steam Plant Road.
Progress Energy is currently keeping the ash from its coal-burning plant in two ponds near the plant. But the company says those ponds are reaching their limit. So it's looking at what's called dry storage - containing ash inside a landfill.
Documents submitted to New Hanover County planners mention a 150-foot berm, plans to cover the coal ash monthly, and daily sprayings to prevent blowing ash.
Little is mentioned of liners to prevent ground water contamination. The company's spokesperson says that's because Progress Energy is still working on the design.
UNCW Biologist Larry Cahoon says the company will also have to figure out what to do with the water that percolates through the ash and collects at the bottom of a lined landfill.
And that liquid by definition, if you have it there, is toxic. So you have to have some disposal or treatment technology applied to it, and it needs to be transported or treated on site.
Progress Energy says by converting to dry storage the recycled ash can be used in concrete and road paving.
The company says only ash from its coal-burning plant in New Hanover County will go into the landfill.
Click here to view a satellite image of proposed landfill site.
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