Duke Energy Proposes Settlement Over Coal Ash Pond Leaks

Jul 16, 2013

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Credit Zen Sutherland

Duke Energy has reached a tentative settlement with state regulators regarding lawsuits over leaks from its coal ash ponds in Asheville and on the Catawba River.  The company has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine.  The consent order would require the company to determine the cause and the extent of those leaks into groundwater and into Mountain Island Lake, the source of Charlotte’s water supply.  Susan Massengale with the state division of water quality says the agreement lays out a timeline for Duke to do that.

"As long as they are following the timeline that is in this document, they won’t have additional fines at this time," Massengale says.

The Southern Environmental Law Center criticized the proposed settlement.  The group says the state and other environmental groups already have data showing contamination is a problem.  The SELC sued Duke over the leaks last month.  Duke spokeswoman Erin Culbert says there’s no evidence the leaks are threatening water quality or harming Charlotte’s drinking water.  The public has thirty days to weigh in on the settlement.