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ONLY ON 3: Sutton Plant coal ash could head to New Hanover Co. landfill

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Toxic coal ash from the Sutton Plant may be moving closer to you than you think.

The solution to getting rid of coal ash at Duke Energy’s Sutton Plant may be a short trip down the road to the New Hanover County Landfill.

Coal ash at the Sutton Plant has to go, but where?

Rep. Rick Catlin (R-20th District) says the New Hanover County Landfill, only three miles away from the old coal-fired power plant, is a feasible option.

“It would be an environmental solution, but the question is capacity, cost, and the county commissioners will have to deal with that if it even moves forward to that point,” Catlin said.

He says the landfill is the best bet, because it has measures in place to keep spills from happening.

“The landfill would be double lined with leachate collection. It would be environmentally safe,” Catlin explained.

But NC Coastal Federation Coastal Advocate Mike Giles says even lined landfills can leak.

“Lined landfills have a life span, and municipal landfills are different than landfills for hazardous waste. Municipal landfills are designed for household municipal garbage,” Giles said. “Eventually lined landfills will leak.”

And with the landfill only six miles from the Cape Fear River, Giles says any leak could have dangerous consequences.

“It’s full of arsenic, mercury, radon, radioactive materials. It’s a very hazardous material. When it gets in our waters it pollutes our waters, it gets in the sub straight, and the sediments in our rivers. And some of the materials are cancer causing,” Giles said.

Giles says one of their main concerns is the fact that if this becomes reality, millions of tons of coal ash waste would be dumped on a tax-payer landfill already struggling to make room for more trash.

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