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Duke Energy notified of violations at more plants, including New Hanover Co. facility

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — State regulators have issued notices of violations for five more Duke Energy power plants, including one in New Hanover County.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources says it’s part of the agency’s ongoing probe into Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds following a massive spill of coal ash into the Dan River last month. The notices of violations issued late Friday are for failure to obtain a federally mandated National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, stormwater permit.

“Our agency is determined to make sure that all of these facilities are in compliance with state and federal law,” DENR Secretary John Skvarla said in a news release. “We’re doing everything in our power to prevent environmental disasters like what we’ve seen at the Dan River. We are committed to protecting public health and the natural resources of our state.”

Among the facilities receiving the notice of violation are the Sutton Steam Plant off US 421 in New Hanover County. Duke Energy has 30 days to respond to the new notices.

DENR says following the Dan River coal ash spill, regulators began a lengthy review of the permit status of all 14 Duke Energy facilities across the state. DENR determined that the company had neither applied for nor obtained stormwater permits for six power plants, including the Dan River Steam Station. Four other facilities have NPDES stormwater applications under review by the department’s Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, while two additional facilities have separate stormwater requirements included in their current NPDES wastewater permits. One facility has withdrawn its stormwater permit and one has had its stormwater conditions rescinded. In both instances, there was no longer industrial activity covered by federal stormwater regulations at the facilities.

The federal NPDES Stormwater Program regulates stormwater discharges from facilities that have industrial activities, including steam electric power generating facilities. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is delegated to implement the program in North Carolina.

In addition to the Sutton Steam Plant, the site are the Belews Creek Steam Station in Rockingham County, Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford County, Lee Steam Electric Plant in Wayne County and the Roxboro Steam Electric Power Plant in Person County.


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