Duke Energy, the largest holding company in the electric power domain in the United States in an environmental pollution scandal. They are accused of polluting groundwater through a couple of coal ash pits that are affiliated to an old, out of usage power plant. Environmental officials say this situation has been going on for years and they are fining the corporation 25 million dollars.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said there has never been such a severe forfeiture against an agent causing eco damage. The Duke Energy company was fined for continuous contamination that occurred at the Sutton Electric Plant, at the outskirts of Wilmington. Officials estimate that the two coal ash pits causing the pollution hold almost 2.6 million tons of ash.
Donald R. van der Vaart, who is the department`s secretary, affirmed that the state intends to blame Duke Energy for environmental damage that went on for years and years. The holding company has a 30 day period in which it can appeal the fine.
“In addition to holding the utility accountable for past contamination we have found across the state, we are also moving very expeditiously to remove the threat to our waterways and groundwater from coal ash ponds statewide,”
Donald R. van der Vaart said in a statement.
Duke Energy didn`t respond immediately to the e-mails and phone messages that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources sent on Tuesday.
Constant supervising of the wells placed alongside the company`s pits at Sutton revealed alarming groundwater standards of chemicals like thallium, boron, selenium, manganese or iron. Those are highly toxic chemicals that produce serious damage to the environment. For example, thallium, which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources specified to have gotten into the groundwater at Sutton for 1,668 days, was a main ingredient in the production of rat poison for decades, until it was banned for its high level of toxicity.
Duke Energy has 32 coal ash pits dispersed at 14 locations across the state. The company was under rigorous control after an incident that happened last year. A pipe crack-up at power plant in Eden caused a huge amount of chemicals to leach into the Dan River. This way, the river was covered by sludge on a 70 miles distance. The ash that got into the Dan River came from the burning of coal, which produces electricity. These remains are highly toxic, containing a number of heavy metals that attack the environment.
Duke Energy was recently accused of illegal pollution for a period of several years produced by the coal ash pits of no less than five power plants in North Carolina by the federal prosecutors. They say illegal dumping of chemical waste happened at Duke`s plants in Eden, Moncure, Asheville, Goldsboro and Mt. Holly.
The electricity company has stated that they are ready to pay 102 million dollars within the pale of a plea agreement. The money will go to community service, environmental restitution and 25 million dollars will pay the fines.
“We are working quickly to close coal ash basins, including those at Sutton, which will help address impacts to groundwater. We hope DENR will move soon to provide the necessary approvals so we can begin moving ash at Sutton and other sites.”
said Duke Energy`s spokeswoman in an e-mail sent on Tuesday afternoon.
“We have no indication of any off-site groundwater impacts that would pose a health concern for neighbors that have not already been addressed,”
Image Source: Hampton Roads
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