Energy Companies On Verge to Tackle Multibillion Dollar Problem after Ash Spill

Published Date : Mar 19, 2015

Most utility companies harness electricity from coal, and the indigenous source generated almost 39% of the overall energy generated in the United States in 2013. Once the process of harnessing power is completed, it leaves behind ash. This ash most often contains arsenic, boron, selenium, and toxic substances. 

For decades now, these ashes are dumped and buried in pits located near power plants and these pits are then covered with water. After years of dumping toxic ash and cinder in the pits near power plants, situation has taken the shape of a problem worth multibillion dollar in North Carolina. After the site witnessed a massive spillage into the Dan River last year, the state released an order asking Duke Energy to clean up the site which stored over 100 million tons of coal ash. Following the regulatory instruction the company drew up a plan involving transportation of the stored ash to two of the abandoned coal mines at Lee County. 

But the local habitants don’t seem to be very happy with the company’s decision. They along with environmental activists are voicing for the proposal. 

The quality of clay that is formed in the community after years of massive ash dumping is nonabsorbent. This is one of the reasons why Duke Energy and its contractor finally bought the mine named Cherokee Clay and Brick in the same locality and the other was bought in the adjacent county. The company at present is focusing on its plan to dig up approximately 10 million tons of ash across fourteen of the most critical sites located across the state. The clay will be then carried on rail and trucks to a dry landfill. The clay will add yet another layer another of protection against the leak.